May 11, 2017
Retail contact/call centers require a different mindset than other contact/call centers. Wherein a hospital environment would benefit from highly trained subject matter experts who can field a wide variety of complex medical questions on the phone, retail doesn’t need that type of contact/call center representative skills.
Instead, a retail contact/call center is better served by diligent task workers who can process a large volume of similar calls in a row. At the same time, however, a retail contact/call center representative can greatly benefit from sales skills, as upselling and cross selling is often a large part of the contact/call center’s revenue.
Despite this dynamic, a highly skilled contact/call center representative team is not enough in the modern business climate. You could staff some of the best salespeople in the world and still be outperformed by an average team using an array of competitive technology solutions.
Transforming Your Retail Contact/Call Center
Retail is an industry known for its peaks and valleys, and this will greatly affect the number of contact/call center representatives that need to be staffed on any given day. The challenge is predicting these spikes and scheduling the agents appropriately. If too few agents are scheduled, it damages the customer experience. If too many agents are scheduled, it dips into the budget.
Workforce management software takes the guesswork out of this process. By analyzing trends in call volume and call completion rates, a workforce management program can accurately predict what an optimized shift for any day of the year should be.
In today’s business climate, social media is not optional. Your customers are already online, already on social media, and they are having conversations about your brand whether you have a presence or not. The only options are to either take part in that conversation or to leave criticisms of the company unanswered.
Social media is a big commitment, and to do it correctly, the contact/call center needs to devote considerable resources to its success. However, there are applications available that can help. Cisco’s SocialMiner can scour popular social media sites for references of your company and allow your agents to immediately respond to these posts from the SocialMiner platform.
Adapting to Mobile Customers
Mobile callers need to be handled a little differently than those on landlines. To start, recognize that mobile callers are likely on the move traveling somewhere or in the middle of doing another activity while they call. This affects their behavior and their patience level. They are going to have less patience for sitting in a call queue, so callback features are going to prove valuable here. Instead of waiting in a queue, the caller will be offered the option to leave their number to be called back by the next available agent.
Furthermore, mobile customers have usability demands that landline callers do not. Update your mobile website to include “click to call” buttons instead of simply listing your phone number. That extra step of remembering and typing in a phone number across windows on a smartphone is tedious—customers will appreciate the convenience. Additionally, chat and text features align well with smartphone functionality.
Track Your Data, Record Your Calls
The contact/call center representative has a specialized set of skills that allows them to succeed, but they depend on the policies and processes laid out by the business. In order to improve those processes, the contact/call center needs to track data and record its calls. By doing so, management can identify areas in which the contact/call center can improve, such as average time on hold or average call response time. Then management can enact changes and test whether these changes are affecting the contact/call center in a positive way.
Call recordings help management train new staff, hone the skills of existing agents, and reference records in the event of a dispute. They are essential to a thriving contact/call center operation.
Alignment of Business and Technology
Truly, the contact/call center is the perfect example of business IT alignment. Contact/call center representatives use their skills to connect with customers, and the process is supported by technology solutions that create efficiency and improve processes. By wielding both the human and technology elements of the contact/call center, a retail environment can create an exceptional customer experience.
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