Call centers have been an invaluable part of enterprises, as they allow faster responses to  customer concerns. The primary purpose is for a customer service representative to provide support and handle queries through a telephone or online call. They guide customers on technical issues, payment schemes, and even membership concerns.

However, the function of call centers doesn’t stop there. They can also conduct market research or carry out telemarketing functions. Instead of customers calling the site for help, the agents will call the customers to be able to ask questions related to a product, brand, or company.

As more companies utilize call centers to do a myriad of functions, they also need to know the costliest call center mistakes and how to avoid them.

The evolution of call centers

A call center only deals with voice calls. Though there are many other ways to offer customer support, departments who handle all types of communication are called “contact centers.” Other than voice calls, contact centers also handle email support and live chat, among others.

Some companies opt to have their own in-house call center departments, as this entails more control over the agents and the way they communicate with clients. Before the advent of the Internet, this used to be the only choice. All companies that wanted a customer service department to handle calls trained their staff and set up programs and infrastructure to be able to take as many calls as possible within a business day.

By the mid-1990s, nearshore call centers began to spring up. The Internet provided more avenues for communication. Newer companies that focused on customer service and communication offered services to businesses within a given radius. As more enterprises joined the world wide web, call center agencies moved farther and began to emerge from the Caribbean and Latin America.

However, not all businesses saw the benefits of utilizing the services offered by these nearshore agencies. Though there were companies that focused on handling customer calls, the cost wasn’t worth the advantages. As the Internet began to become accessible in developing countries, offshore call center agencies began to spring up, particularly in India, Pakistan, and eventually, the Philippines. This proved to be the best alternative for a lot of businesses, as offshore call centers delivered the same service, tools, and infrastructure—for the fraction of the cost. Today, the Philippines has been the crowned king of offshore call centers, proving to be the top choice for businesses around the globe.

More savings does not equate to more profit

Many factors come into play when choosing the best solution to customer service concerns. While there are companies that choose to create their own in-house call center, this may not be the best choice. Here are some questions to consider: 

  • Is there enough time to train employees to handle customer concerns? Handling irate callers can be emotionally and psychologically taxing and require special training.
  • Is training readily available? Are there training facilitators equipped with the right training module and syllabus to be able to implement the most efficient skills development program? 
  • Are there ample tools and infrastructure for the business to handle a large volume of calls?

Though it may seem that an in-house customer service department is initially a good choice in order to cut costs, this may not prove to be beneficial in the long run. Companies would need to constantly upgrade training programs, hire more employees, and buy new technological tools to be able to keep up with customer demands. Therefore, outsourcing is a better alternative in order to gain more profit for an extended period of time. 

Avoiding Costliest Call Center Mistakes

Simple errors lead to costly mistakes

If not trained well enough, in-house call center departments may lead to simple yet costly errors. Here are the biggest call center mistakes, and how to avoid them:

  • Putting a customer on hold for too long

It’s always frustrating for a customer to have to wait for a long time before getting to speak with a customer service agent. Customers may feel that their time isn’t being valued if they’re put on hold for too long. They would expect that they would get their problems resolved during the call since they have invested a huge amount of time trying to reach a customer service representative.

Putting customers on hold is sometimes necessary when there aren’t enough agents to take a huge influx of calls. When there are more than enough staff members to respond to customers, callers don’t need to wait a long time before getting to speak to an agent.

  • Passing off callers to other agents

When agents don’t know how to properly respond to a query, they may ask for help from another customer service agent. Customers hate it when this happens. They may feel that their concern isn’t important,  they aren’t given the proper attention, or they may deem the staff unfit to handle customer concerns.

This usually happens when agents aren’t trained well to answer all questions and assist with technical concerns. Agents need to be taught the proper protocols in order to be able to respond to every possible situation that may come up.

  • Demonstrating a lack of emotional intelligence

Agents don’t just need to know the right answers to give—they should also know how to provide them in the most emphatic way. Customers make calls because they want to be able to talk to someone to assist with their concerns, not get an automated response. Therefore, agents need to know how to listen proactively and provide not just facts, but reassurance.

Part of the training program for call center representatives should include learning how to respond to both verbal and nonverbal cues in order to gauge if a customer is in distress. As there are no visual cues, nonverbal communication aspects that they should look out for are tone of voice, inflection, and which words are given stress.

  • Not being able to understand customer concerns

Customers want to be understood, but they also don’t like giving the same information again and again. Therefore, agents should learn how to listen well and should be provided guidelines on how to ask questions effectively and efficiently. The best training programs include numerous customer call simulations. This way, it becomes second-nature for the agent to pick out the most relevant information without needing to ask the customer lengthy and unnecessary questions.

The four above mentioned examples are the most common errors due to lack of training. Though they may seem simple, these mistakes could lead to customer distrust, which can cause a decrease in sales in the long run. Each customer is important, especially in the digital age, as any mishandled customer call or negative customer experience can reach a large number of people.

Aside from human error, there are also technical concerns that also become a factor as to why call center mistakes happen. These may lead customers to never wanting to engage with a brand or company again. Here are the most common ones:

  • Not having the customer information in the system

When a customer calls an agent, it is expected that the agent can keep track of all the necessary information. These include membership details, past transactions, and even a log of previous complaints and how they were resolved. Great call centers, therefore, have systems in place in order not only to keep track of all these details but also for agents to quickly pull them up during a call.

  • Not having enough information on the website.

It’s always a big no-no for agents to tell customers to “Just check the website for details.” However, it’s also a bad thing when necessary information cannot be found on a company’s website, especially when customers want to see details written out. Therefore, it’s not enough for agents to be ready to guide customers over the phone. The company website should always be updated in case customers would want to be able to read the necessary information online.

  • Not having the necessary technology and infrastructure to support calls.

Call center departments should be prepared to handle a large number of calls daily. Even if the agents are well-trained, they won’t be able to handle concerns properly if the connection sounds unclear, or servers are down. The proper technological tools and infrastructure should be in place so that agents can communicate clearly, can quickly pull up the necessary information, and can handle call queues without the risk of servers or programs crashing.

Adequate training and having the necessary tools go hand-in-hand in order to provide proper customer service support. The right key performance indicators should also be gauged so that a call center department’s output can be quantified. There are various call center metrics that can be utilized, and these can guide the direction of training managers to be able to know how the department is faring.

However, it is always a good idea for any business to consider call center outsourcing in order to reduce the risk of committing any of the costly mistakes mentioned above. When companies outsource, they immediately get access to programs, training systems, technological tools, and infrastructure. There is no need to worry about constantly upgrading the skill sets of staff members. There is also no more need to buy tools or put new systems in place.

Solutions at your fingertips

We at SuperStaff offer over a decade of experience in various industries to provide your company with the best call center solutions. We take on a collaborative approach with our partners, as we believe that each company requires a unique solution in order for their business to expand. Therefore, our program architects always survey a company’s present challenges and limitations to transform them into opportunities for growth. Our experience, tools, and talent would be at your fingertips.

You can learn more about our customer service outsourcing services here, and book a free consultation. Let us take care of your customer calls with happiness, drive, and confidence, as the Philippines has proved that it not only is the top choice for outsourced business processes but is also one of the friendliest nations in the world. These two factors make Filipinos the best customer service representatives around the globe..

There is no more need to be wary of seemingly simple mistakes that turn out to be expensive errors. We at SuperStaff can take care of responding to your customers’ concerns. Book a consultation and our program architects would be happy to assist you.

Learn more about Customer Service Outsourcing

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