What Benefits Motivate Call Center Agents the Most?

Posted on

November 29th, 2022


There is often a great divide between what call center managers believe motivates their employees and what the employees actually want. As a result, many incentives fall flat because managers don’t know the benefits that appeal the most to their employees. To illustrate this point, researchers asked call center managers and employees to rank benefits and incentives. Managers rated the following as their top motivational techniques:

  1. Rewards and recognition from supervisors or company leadership
  2. Gift cards, bonuses, extra days off, and other similar incentives
  3. Team social events and activities
  4. Remote work options

Employees had an almost exact reverse, listing the following as the greatest motivators:

  1. Remote work options
  2. Gift cards, bonuses, extra days off, and other similar incentives
  3. Rewards and recognition from supervisors or company leadership

Team social events and activities dropped to the sixth slot for call center agents, signaling a disconnect between call center managers and employees. Remote work remains a hugely popular benefit, and more than half of call center agents are extremely likely to look for new employment if they don’t have flexible work options.

Understanding what motivates call center employees is critical to providing superior customer service. However, aligning benefits with employees’ preferences is only part of cultivating a high-quality customer experience. Employees need to be able to empathize with customers’ problems, which requires cultural familiarity and language mastery. Contact Actec to learn more about the benefits of a nearshore call center.

7 Reasons Why Businesses Need to Text Their Customers

Posted on

November 15th, 2022


fnol textingYounger Millennials and Zoomers loathe speaking on the phone. The stark shift in communication style from Gen X to Millennials to Gen Z even earned the latter the nickname “Generation Mute.” When polled about this, most millennials replied that speaking on the phone is too slow, too outdated, and unlikely to resolve their problem satisfactorily.

Millennials and Gen Z aren’t the only generations eschewing phone calls. Research shows that eight out of every ten adult Americans don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. Surprisingly, although younger generations dislike phone calls more than preceding ones, they’re more likely to pick up calls from unknown numbers than older generations. Fortunately, two-thirds of American adults will check voicemails left by unidentified callers. However, insurance providers placing these calls are wasting time and failing to reach customers on their preferred communication platform.

The following are several statistics that highlight why business text messaging is a worthwhile investment:

  1. Texting is the top-ranked communication channel for Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.
  2. Text messages have a 98% open rate and up to a 45% response rate, whereas emails average around a 20% open rate and 10% response rate.
  3. Most people take 90 minutes to reply to an email, whereas it only takes them around 90 seconds to answer a text.
  4. 85% of people prefer messaging platforms, including texting, messaging apps, and social media messaging, over emails or phone calls.
  5. 74% of customers report that texting improves their opinion of businesses that engage them this way.
  6. 68% of customers prefer to message businesses than to use any other form of communication.
  7. Customer support tickets submitted via text increased by 28% between 2020 and 2021

First notice of loss (FNOL) sets the stage for the customer’s overall satisfaction with the claims process. Reporting a loss is often a distressing and stressful experience, and customers have an exceedingly low threshold for frustration during this period. Offering text and chat services allows customers to initiate FNOL quickly on their preferred communication channel. Contact Actec to learn more about implementing text and chat FNOL.

6 Crucial Call Center Statistics Businesses Need to Know

Posted on

November 8th, 2022


Contact centers are critical for many businesses to ensure their customers receive a satisfactory experience. However, customers often dread calling customer service numbers due to poor outcomes previously. Companies that find ways to reduce pain points and bottlenecks enjoy greater customer loyalty. The following are several call center statistics businesses need to know to remain competitive:

  1. Customers will spend more after a positive experience. Frustrated customers aren’t likely to whip out their wallets for upsells or supplementary services. However, they’ll spend up to 140% more following a positive experience.
  2. Service matters more than the cost or product. Customers obviously want quality products at competitive prices. However, they’re 4X more likely to make purchases from competing providers if they dislike the customer service they receive.
  3. Customers don’t hesitate to sever ties. Customer loyalty is harder to maintain than many companies realize. A whopping 40% of customers will stop conducting business with a company after a single negative interaction with customer service agents.
  4. The cost of poor customer service is exorbitant. Poor customer service costs companies around $75 billion each year.
  5. Customers expect rapid resolutions. Over one-third of customers expect agents to solve their problems during their first interaction. It erodes customer loyalty if they have to call back for updates or repeat their information.
  6. Customers want empathetic exchanges. Canned responses come across as robotic and cold. Customers can tell when agents are reading from a script. It has an immediate and damaging effect on their overall satisfaction.

Customers want rapid resolutions, high quality services, and empathetic exchanges. How well a company’s call center can meet these expectations directly effects the customer experience and their loyalty. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how a nearshore call center can improve your customer service capabilities.

How Does Omni-Channel Communication Win Customers’ Trust?

Posted on

November 1st, 2022


FNOL SolutionsThe modern consumer has much different wants and expectations than those of a decade ago. Technological leaps, shifting economic situations, and a reassessment of values are just a few of the primary factors driving these changes. Many service providers fall short and erode their customers’ trust. What’s worse is that many don’t realize it. Almost 80% of business executives believe their customers trust them, whereas barely more than half (52%) of consumers report the same.

Building trust is a multifaceted process that relies on the following:

  • Compassion. Customers want to interact with a real person when they have a problem. Many customers use self-service tools before reaching out to customer support. They have likely already exhausted the limits of a knowledge base or AI chatbot. When they have a problem, they want the company to show it cares about finding the solution. They want to interact with an empathetic human, whether by text, messaging, or phone.
  • Effectiveness and quality. Customers reasonably expect the products and services they purchase to perform as advertised. If they receive inefficient service or a substandard product, their trust fades. Similarly, they want the best value for their money. They’re more likely to look for a new provider if they feel their current one has unfair pricing for the quality of the product or service they receive.
  • Consistency. Customers depend on their service providers to deliver a consistent experience with each interaction and purchase. Customers rapidly lose trust in businesses that fail to live up to their promises and guarantees.
  • Transparency. Customers are leery of providing their personal contact information, such as their email or phone number. While some businesses use that information for legitimate business interactions, others spam customers with unwanted emails and texts. Companies should always outline why they’re collecting the customer’s data, how they’ll use it, and the customer’s options for opting in or out of these communications.

Omni-channel communication can drive customer trust in several ways. Traditional phone calls are more conducive to displaying compassion as tone does not convey over text. Communicating through text messages allows companies to provide customers with rapid updates about their inquiries, open support tickets, or claims. Chat services empower customers to find solutions to common questions without delay. Customers also frequently use social media channels, email, and website forms to engage with their service provider. Meeting their needs on the most conducive platform establishes a foundation of trust that is essential for long-term loyalty. Contact Actec to learn more about the benefits of implementing new communication channels.

Top 4 Call Center Skills Representative Need to Master

Posted on

October 18th, 2022


Call center agents often have the first interaction with customers. They set the stage for the customer experience, and many customers form opinions about a company based on these interactions. Agents need the right skills to provide high-quality customer service. These include:

  1. Solid communication. Good communication skills may seem obvious. Agents spend the majority of their job interacting with customers over the phone, texts, messages, and many other channels. Empathy is essential for customer satisfaction. Agents that work with detached efficiency may resolve calls quickly, but they can come across as cold and unfeeling.
  2. Avoiding repetition. Customers hate repeating themselves. Take notes about their problem and read any documentation from previous calls. Customers feel like the agent is wasting their time, does not care about solving their problem, or lacks knowledge when they have to explain their issue more than once.
  3. Finding creative solutions. Not every problem is easy to solve or has a clear path to resolution. Call center agents that use their resources to find unexpected solutions for the customers’ issues provide a superior quality of service.
  4. Maintaining organization. Some calls require follow-up, such as an insurance claim. These cases can remain open for days or weeks. It’s easy to lose track of them without proper organization. For example, sticky notes or sporadic handwritten notes can go missing. Electronic records can become jumbled if they’re all stored in one place. Customer service software can often remove these administrative hurdles, but organization skills are still essential for call center agents fielding several dozen calls a day.

Customers are often upset or have a problem when they connect with a call center agent. Agents that provide empathetic service and remain flexible when finding solutions deliver a superior customer experience. Contact Actec to learn how our nearshore call center solutions can improve customer service and customer loyalty.

How Does First Response Time Affect Customer Claim Satisfaction?

Posted on

September 27th, 2022


fnol textingFirst response time (FRT) measures how much time passes between a customer initiating first notice of loss (FNOL) and an agent responding to it. Customers want to be able to reach their insurance provider whenever they need them. Losses rarely give customers the courtesy of occurring during regular business hours, and how quickly an insurance agent responds significantly affects the customer’s claim satisfaction.

FNOL, FRT, and Customer Loyalty

FNOL and FRT go hand-in-hand to keep customers happy. FNOL represents 25% of a customer’s overall satisfaction with their insurance provider. In addition, industry research shows that the claims experience influences 87% of customers’ loyalty, while almost 80% will switch providers if their insurers’ responsiveness falls short of their expectations. A short FRT is essential following FNOL to retain existing customers.

Text and Chat for Better FNOL and FRT

The FNOL experience affirms customers’ expectations for better or worse. If they have a positive experience, they feel secure in their choice of insurance provider. If the experience is poor, it may reinforce the customer’s belief that they need a new insurer. Customer’s top complaints regarding the claims process include:

  • Too slow (25%)
  • Too difficult (22%)
  • Too much paperwork (22%)

Text and chat services can address many of these pain points. Text messaging rapidly decreases FRT, as agents can respond within minutes of receiving a claim notification. Agents can also pull existing data from the customer’s file to partially complete the data-gathering process. Filling in known information can also reduce friction during the interaction. For example, the make and model of the customer’s car are already in the system. Customers are often already agitated when initiating FNOL and asking them for information they provided well before the loss will only increase their frustration.

Agents that communicate with customers through text messaging can also close their claims faster. Customers always appreciate an expedited claims process, but it can also net cost savings for the insurer. For example, customers need rental cars while waiting for repairs on their vehicles. Insurance carriers often cover the rentals costs, and closing the claim several days faster curtails that expense. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how text and chat services can improve your customers’ claims experience.

4 Insights to Optimize Call Center Employee Onboarding

Posted on

September 13th, 2022


Outsource FNOLCall centers often experience high employee turnover, and insufficient onboarding processes are a driving factor. Companies that optimize the process can save time and money while improving employee retention. The following are several insights to improve the onboarding process for new call center employees:

  1. Pay attention to personality traits and soft skills. Onboarding is useless if a new hire doesn’t have the demeanor required to do the job. Soft skills like empathy, active listening, and coolness under pressure significantly effect customer satisfaction. Unhappy agents that aren’t suited to the job can ultimately damage the customer experience and the company’s reputation. Employers can train new agents on technical skills. However, changing their personality is difficult, bordering on impossible.
  2. Gamification is a strong motivator. Videogames figured out that players responded enthusiastically to unlocking achievements. Gamification in the workplace, such as friendly competition or striving to reach a milestone, can hold the same appeal. It imbues a sense of fun and excitement that ultimately improves productivity and performance.
  3. Simplify knowledge acquisition. Knowledge bases are a must-have for agents of all experience levels. While tenured agents may know how to navigate a convoluted system, it’s likely to frustrate newer employees. A robust and easy-to-use knowledge base is a powerful training tool and allows new agents to begin fielding calls much faster.
  4. Train agents on how to handle angry callers. Phone calls from frustrated customers are common for call centers, and new agents need to know how to handle them. Many of these calls require active listening, repeating information, and avoiding putting the customer on hold. Agents that understand the process can quickly access information to meet the customer’s needs while remaining calm.

Automation and self-service tools allow customers to find answers to many of their questions themselves. However, some situations require human interaction. How well a company onboards new call center agents directly effects the customer’s experience and loyalty. Contact Actec to learn more about implementing a nearshore contact center.

Giving Customers Confidence When Sharing Their Data

Posted on

August 23rd, 2022


external software solutionsPersonalization is a critical part of delivering a high-quality customer experience in the insurance industry. However, tailored experiences require customers to share their data with their insurance provider, something many may hesitate to do. Insurance providers need to understand the four primary attitudes about sharing data before they can take steps to convince customers to give out personal information.

  1. Unaware access granters. These customers don’t fully understand how companies use their data. They often click accept without reading the terms, and many don’t realize what they agreed to share. They may have apps that have access to their photos, their apps, or location without realizing how much they’re sharing. They often have strong and harsh reactions when they discover how much data they unknowingly provided.
  2. Begrudging acceptance. A significant portion of customers know how much access they’re granting when they accept terms of service, cookies, and so on, but they are not happy about it. They consider it the cost of doing business or a necessity to receive the services they require. Pushing these customers to share more can backfire quickly, as they are already on the fence about it.
  3. Cautious and wary. Customers who seem overly cautious when companies ask them to share data likely had negative experiences or had their trust betrayed in the past. They often require evidence as to why the company wants their data, how the company will use their data, and how the company will protect their private information. Making this information difficult to locate or understand will immediately set these customers on their guard or send them looking for a more transparent provider.
  4. Incognito anonymity. These individuals do not want companies to know more information about them than is absolutely necessary. Even then, that information is often misleading. They view data gathering as an unnecessary hassle. They employ several tactics to protect their data. Examples include browsing online while in incognito mode on Google Chrome, using P.O. boxes for package deliveries to maximize privacy, or setting up a second email account to capture all the spam emails they assume will follow. Convincing this group to share data requires careful trust building, pristine transparency, and a friction-free customer experience.

Identifying which group customers fall into can be challenging early in the data gathering process. Thankfully, insurance providers can avoid major missteps with all customers by following a few guidelines. To start, explicitly explain what data they collect, how they use it, and how it benefits the customer. Make the information easy to find and use easy-to-understand language. Avoid asking customers for a lot of information too quickly, acknowledge their concerns about the sensitive nature of their data, and explain the security in place to protect their privacy.

Customer service in the insurance industry is often high stakes. Many customers only contact their insurance provider following a loss and will look for a new provider after a single negative experience. Text and chat services give customs the immediate access they need during stressful times. Agents also have an opportunity to establish a rapport and build the trust many customers require before they’ll share their data. Contact Actec to learn more about implementing text and chat services.

4 Employee Recognition Ideas for Call Centers

Posted on

August 16th, 2022


fnolMotivated and engaged call center employees are more likely to deliver high-quality customer service. However, consistently providing superior service and meeting KPIs is challenging and can leave agents exhausted without adequate support. Recognizing their efforts shows customer service agents that the company appreciates their work and cares about their well-being. It also behooves companies to recognize call center agents, as customer service directly effects revenue.

The following are several ideas companies can use to show appreciation for their call center employees:

  1. Personalized incentives. Gift cards are easy to give out as rewards for top performers, but they require little thought and can come across as impersonal. For example, gift cards to restaurants can backfire if the employee has dietary restrictions that limit their options. While a plain Visa gift card is a safe option, it lacks thoughtfulness. Personalize performance incentives to show genuine appreciation, such as a gift basket from the employee’s favorite store or drinkware with their initials engraved on it.
  2. Technology accessories and gadgets. Most adults own smart devices, including smartphones, tablets, e-Readers, and more. Businesses can offer a range of high-tech accessories and gadgets for employees to choose from, allowing them to select items that best suit their needs. Companies can divide the options into tiers that employees can unlock by meeting KPIs or let employees choose from the most coveted items on their work anniversaries. Ideas include pop sockets, protective cases and screens for their devices, charging pads or docks, power banks, external hard drives, wireless earbuds, etc.
  3. Peer-to-peer recognition. A peer-to-peer recognition system encourages employees to show appreciation for each other’s hard work and fosters better teamwork. For example, all employees can enter a coworker into a monthly raffle for appealing prizes (e.g., a small bonus, taking a half day on a Friday of their choosing, and so on). With more entries, the more an employee stands a chance to win. Employees are more likely to up their teamwork skills, such as taking the extra time to help a new employee or working amicably to find creative solutions on group projects.
  4. Relax the dress code. Consider relaxing the dress code if call center agents don’t interact face-to-face with customers. Companies can show employees they care about their well-being and want them to feel as comfortable as possible while at work.

Call center employee appreciation and recognition are essential for ensuring excellent service and delivering a superior customer experience. Contact Actec to learn more about implementing a successful nearshore call center.

4 Ways Text Messaging Enhances the Customer Experience and Loyalty

Posted on

August 9th, 2022


FNOL SolutionsBusinesses are struggling more than ever to foster customer loyalty. Today’s customers are more likely to look for new vendors or providers following a poor experience with the company. Customers have a low threshold for frustration, and service issues such as long hold times, agents lacking knowledgeability, or unresolved problems are more than enough to erode their faith in the organization.

While numerous factors contribute to the customer experience, two play the most prominent roles: personalization and convenience. Customers expect a personalized experience. Personalization has become essential for businesses to thrive, as 86% of customers report that personalization influences their buying habits and 25% indicate that personalization plays a critical role in driving their purchases.

Convenience is just as crucial. Customers no longer limit their comparisons to industry competitors. Businesses must now compete against tech and ecommerce giants like Apple and Amazon. These organizations set a standard of service delivery that customers expect from all the companies they do business with.

Text message communication combines personalization with convenience. Text message communication channels can improve the customer experience in several ways:

  1. Builds trust with helpful engagement. Customers have little patience when waiting for an update on their inquiry or claim. Many businesses email their customers with regular updates, but this assumes the customer has internet access to check their inbox regularly. SMS text messaging provides updates in real-time, isn’t reliant on Wi-Fi, and removes the inconvenient necessity of constantly opening their email.
  2. Quickly resolves inquiries and problems. Customers expect rapid answers and solutions when they reach out to customer service. Texting is a convenient way to seek updates or request information, as customers can engage with their provider whenever and wherever they are. Texting also doesn’t tether the customer to their phone or computer while they wait on hold or in a queue.
  3. Improves service efficiency. Customers loathe repeating their information or inquiry. It makes the customer feel like the company doesn’t care about their problem or that they are just one file number among many. Text messages retain previous conversations so any agent can help resolve the problem, regardless of their familiarity with the situation.
  4. Builds an emotional connection. Text message communication is often more casual and informal than email or phone calls. Agents can establish a rapport during these conversations while providing rapid customer service.

Customers have a growing preference for text message communication. Businesses that meet their customers on their preferred communication channels have an excellent opportunity to foster customer loyalty and deliver superior service. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about implementing text messaging services.