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 When polled about this, most millennials replied that speaking on the phone is too slow, too outdated, and unlikely to resolve their problem satisfactorily.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.

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.

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.

5 Customer Service Metrics that Define Successful Call Centers

Posted on

July 26th, 2022


Outsource FNOLCall center metrics can reveal the overall health of a call center and determine its likelihood of success. Analyzing metrics and implementing data-based changes allows a call center to continually improve its processes and the service it provides to customers. The following metrics characterize top-performing call centers:

  1. Average handle time (AHT). AHT encompasses the total time of a customer phone call and often plays a critical role in customer satisfaction. Shorter calls tend to indicate better service, as the agent is rapidly resolving customer problems. In contrast, ineffective call centers often have a high AHT due to lack of training, knowledge, or efficiency.
  2. First call resolution (FCR). Call centers that answer customer questions or find solutions to customer problems on the first call typically have a high FCR. FCR is essential for customer satisfaction, as frequent transfers or escalations frustrate customers and erode their loyalty.
  3. Average speed of answer (ASA). ASA measures how long it takes for a customer to reach an agent after connecting with the call center. Much like AHT and FCR, ASA directly affects customer satisfaction. If a customer has to navigate a convoluted phone tree or has to wait a long time to speak with a person, they’ll likely be agitated by the time they reach an agent.
  4. Average resolution time (AST). Similar to AHT, this metric focuses on how long it takes agents to resolve customers’ inquiries. Customers expect agents to be knowledgeable enough to answer their questions or find a solution without delay. If the agent has to place them on hold several times or for long durations, the customer loses faith in the agent’s ability to help them. If they have to wait for too long, they may abandon the call altogether.
  5. Customer effort score (CES). CES measures how much effort it took to contact the company and the ease or difficulty of reaching a customer service agent. Customers don’t want to hunt for contact information, and they don’t want to jump through several hoops to reach a customer service representative. CES also measures how much effort it took for the customer to receive an answer or solution to their problem.

All these metrics influence customer satisfaction and are pivotal to securing customer loyalty. Organizations that analyze their call center data can harness that information to improve processes, service capabilities, and the customer experience. Contact Actec to learn how a nearshore call center can elevate your company’s customer service.

What’s Your Call Center’s Company Culture?

Posted on

July 12th, 2022


fnol call centerSeveral elements define a company’s culture. The company’s mission, values, and leadership style all affect how employees engage with each other and how customers view the company. A strong, positive company culture drives employee motivation, productivity, and morale. Establishing a company culture takes time, but businesses have several styles they can cultivate within their call centers.

  1. Adhocracy Culture. The term adhocracy culture comes from ad hoc and prioritizes innovation and creativity above all else. Adhocracy culture encourages employees to take risks and accepts that failure may occur. However, this style of culture eliminates barriers that restrict creativity and often produces rapid growth and impressive innovations.
  2. Clan or Collaborative Culture. Businesses that embrace a clan or collaborative culture tend to treat employees like family members. Clan culture often abolishes traditional hierarchy roles and values all employees’ input equally regardless of their management level.
  3. Customer-Focused Culture. The customer experience dominates in customer-focused companies. They aim to provide paramount service and often go the extra mile to ensure a high-quality customer experience. These companies often equip employees with the technology and freedom required to exceed customer expectations.
  4. Hierarchy Culture. Hierarchy-driven businesses are the most traditional, with rigid tiers of management and responsibilities. High-risk organizations often develop a hierarchy culture to control and minimize failure. Although a bit old-fashioned, this culture style is more efficient than most.
  5. Market-Driven or Competitive Culture. Companies with a market-driven culture focus on getting their products on the market as quickly as possible. Employees in these organizations tend to work hard, thrive on competition, and focus on results. Businesses with market-driven cultures often emphasize an employee’s performance and ability to produce results over the workplace experience.
  6. Purpose-Driven Culture. Purpose-driven culture has taken off as customers show more interest in a company’s values. Employees have a strong sense of purpose and understand the importance of their work to the organization. The workforce often unites behind a shared belief, such as improving sustainability or advocating for human rights. Purpose-driven businesses aim to give back to the community that supports them and often donate to charities that align with their mission.
  7. Innovative Culture. Similar to an adhocracy culture, companies with an innovative culture focus on inventive ideas. However, innovative cultures have several distinguishing features. Innovation-focused companies aim to improve processes and existing technology while also creating new solutions. The primary goal is to continuously produce new ideas, products, and technologies that meet existing and unforeseen customer needs.
  8. Creative Culture. Creative company culture focuses on establishing goals and bringing those aspirations to fruition. They strive to create new products and services that build a unique customer experience. Employees often work in teams to encourage innovative thinking.

Companies can make several strategic decisions to define their call center’s culture. For example, some may choose to focus on the customer by equipping agents with the best customer service technology and providing rigorous training to establish service standards. Others may unite their call center representatives behind a common purpose that speaks to their customer base. Whichever approach an organization decides to take, they need a high-quality call center to fulfill customer needs. Contact Actec to discover how a nearshore call center can improve your company’s customer service and loyalty.

4 Reasons Why Your Call Center Drives Away Customers

Posted on

June 28th, 2022


Outsource FNOLCompanies want to deliver a memorable experience anytime their customers engage with them. However, call center errors can create a lasting negative impression instead of engendering loyalty. The customer experience is a significant differentiator, and businesses can’t afford to lose clients due to an unsatisfactory call center interaction. Among Gen Z clients, research indicates that 54% stop doing business with a company after a bad experience.

The following are several reasons a call center may leave customers unsatisfied:

  1. Long holds. When a call center agent asks a customer if they can place them on hold, the customer’s expectations immediately decline. The request means the call will likely last longer than the customer anticipated. Consider keeping the customer on the line while resolving their issue for simple requests and concerns.
  2. Longer wait queues. Customers also hate waiting to wait. Hearing their spot in line repeat at various intervals can be infuriating, and they’ll already be on edge by the time an agent connects to their call. An additional request to put them on hold can permanently damage their loyalty, no matter how knowledgeable the agent is. Providing a call-back service that holds their place in line can ease the irritation, as the customer isn’t tethered to their phone. If long queues and wait times are frequent issues, it may be time to hire more call center employees.
  3. Directing the customer to the company website while on hold. Today’s customers are more empowered than ever. Most research the problem before contacting customer service. Prerecorded wait messages directing the customer to the company website for faster service rarely produce a positive customer response. They’ve likely already tried the website, or they may have a unique issue not covered in the help documentation. The directive comes across as pushy and increases the customer’s frustration the more often they hear while waiting on hold.
  4. Wasted time on redundant questions. The last thing a customer wants to do after waiting on hold is to repeat the information they already provided. If they had to enter their customer ID, birthdate, or account number before connecting with an agent, don’t make them provide that information again. It exposes inefficiencies, and customers perceive it as the agent wasting their time. Consider upgrading call center software so customer data moves with them if the agent needs to transfer the call.

Actec understands that businesses need call centers that drive customer loyalty. Having a competent call center is even more important during the claims cycle. Customers have little patience, and their stress is at an all-time high when reporting a loss or filing a claim. Our nearshore contact center teams handle claim intake efficiently and deliver a superior customer experience. Contact us to learn how a nearshore contact center can transform the customer experience.