In the contact center industry, especially in the field of outbound call centers, efficiency is the main focus. Discussions within the field of outbound call centers always center on efficiency, high ROI, and metrics. These topics often overshadow the most important aspect of the call center, the call center agent.
Every day, a new study is published on the topic of making the customer happy. But the truth is, customer service agents are the touchpoint between your business and your customers. If they’re not given the tools to work efficiently, they’re unlikely to make customers happy and keep them coming back.
Before becoming a Sales Development Representative at Bright Pattern, I worked as a call center agent with an outbound call-focused recruiting company. The company focused on finding and matching qualified IT candidates with IT jobs, and relied on representatives like me to reach out to the clients and sell these positions. After working there for a year, I realized that while there were many things my previous company did well, there were many other things that they could’ve done to improve and empower their call center agents. Here are some of the lessons I took away from working as an outbound call center agent.
EFFICIENCY THROUGH TECH
During my time as an outbound call center agent, I had to make almost 50 outbound calls a day through the phone, and handle even more interactions through email. The workload was sometimes overwhelming, because I often had to manually dial the numbers and wait for the caller to pick up. Many times, the caller didn’t pick up the phone at all, wasting time and resources that could’ve been spent on a successful call with an active client.
An advanced feature that should’ve been implemented to make the experience more seamless and efficient is an advanced predictive dialer. To make the calls, I had to manually enter the number and wait for the client to pick up. With an advanced predictive dialer, I could automatically have the dialer go through the list of numbers and weed out numbers that are out-of-service or unavailable, giving me more time to interact with customers and creating less unnecessary work for me.
Today’s advanced predictive dialers can streamline your outbound calling campaigns and increase your ROI.
As an outbound contact center agent, I had to handle two channels of communication, email and phone. Even with only two channels, sometimes it was overwhelming. Often, I would have to escalate email interactions to phone interactions, and it was a long, disjointed process to turn an email interaction into a phone interaction and vice versa. There would also be many instances where I receive phone calls from clients that had worked with other colleagues. I would either have to transfer them to the colleague if my colleague was available or handle the interaction myself. Handling the interaction myself meant that I had to start from the beginning, undoing all the work that my colleague had previously done. This created frustration within my contact center and was a major pain point for many of the outbound call center agents that I was working with.
An omnichannel solution fixes this by allowing for a seamless transition between any channels. Had my contact center used an omnichannel solution, I could carry the email conversation to a phone conversation instantly, with the full context of the situation at my fingertips.
In the outbound call center I worked at, there was a divide between management and call center agents. Often, management would handle more complex clients and cases. They would also handle negative interactions for client retention.
Oftentimes, I would reach out to clients and receive issues that only management would be able to handle. I had to route their call to an available manager who could handle their case. If no manager was available, I would have to put them on hold or call them back at a later time, which created friction in the client’s experience. This created frustration among call center agents and customers, since it created a disjointed experience for everyone. Having to constantly route calls to the correct person and not having access to all the tools to help the client often wasted time and resources.
To improve upon this, the outbound call center should’ve adopted an intelligent omnichannel routing system that would route clients on email or phone to the correct representative. In an omnichannel routing system, clients can be put into roles or categories, and they can be specifically redirected to the correct department or agent in an efficient manner. Omnichannel routing includes all channels of communication, including email, voice, text, SMS, and more. Read more about intelligent omnichannel routing here.
EMPOWER YOUR AGENTS AND STREAMLINE YOUR OUTBOUND CALLS
Agents are an integral part of the outbound call center. From my personal experience, agents without the proper tools will have a difficult time providing great customer support. A combination of outdated tools, lack of communication, and lack of teamwork made my outbound call center position much more difficult than it should have been.
There are many ways to empower your call center agents. Check out our agent empowerment ebook for a comprehensive guide on how to ensure your agents are engaged and happy.
Bright Pattern’s contact center software provides all the tools agents need to ensure a seamless, excellent customer experience. Bright Pattern’s contact center software is fully omnichannel, meaning your agents can switch between channels seamlessly while having access to the full context of the conversation. Through our comprehensive CRM integrations, you can track the customer on his or her journey from beginning to end, ensuring that the customer is receiving the best customer experience throughout the journey. All of these features, at an affordable, pay-per-use price.