Stop Thinking of Your Call Center as a Cost Center
Today’s podcast guest, Blake Morgan, started as a conference organizer in the call center world, so it’s hardly surprising that her views on customer experience dig into the call center.
But, as she stresses in our interview and in her new book, More is More: How The Best Companies Work Harder And Go Farther To Create Knock Your Socks Off Customer Experiences, there’s a lot more to delivering great customer experiences than having great staff in the call center.
The “call center” itself is no longer even an accurate term; a shrinking number of customers want to make phone calls. Instead, we talk about “contact centers”, which handle email, phones, social media, even text messages now.
Nevertheless, some key elements of the call center model are still important. Specifically:
1. Recognize that your contact center is every bit as important (if not more so) than your sales and marketing departments.
Your contact center reps may be the first people your potential customers ever speak to.
They may also be the last, especially if things have gone wrong, and your reps don’t have the skills, knowledge or freedom to make them better.
2. Not just anyone should work in a call center.
It is skilled work, which takes a lot of finesse to get right. Not everybody can cope with all the criticism from customers, nor with the high pressure, fast paced demands.
Hire carefully for your contact centers, and train well.
3. On the flipside, everyone senior should spend time working in customer service.
If they don’t, it will be hard for them to stop thinking of their customer service staff as “overhead” or “expenses” instead of what they really are: an investment in long-term, profitable customer relationships.
4. Pay your contact center staff well.
It has always struck me as bizarre that the people who probably have the biggest impact on long-term customer satisfaction get paid among the worst in many organizations.
As a result, call center turnover rates are huge: 30 – 45% .
Given how hard it is to find people with the right personality, and the time it takes to train them well, it makes way more sense to pay them better and keep them than to put up with the devastating costs of turnover.
Mentioned in this Episode
Other Articles & Interviews about Call Centers and Contact Centers
How to Convince Top Execs That Your Call Center Is Worth It – Interview with Jim Rembach, of Beyond Morale
What Happens to the Call Center when People Stop Calling? – Interview with Kevin Krempulec , then VP and General Manager responsible for Canada of contact center technology firm, Genesys