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Rising Trend: Graduates Flock to Thriving Contact Centers Amid Job Shortages 
Explore the rising trend of graduates turning to thriving contact centers amid job shortages. Discover how call centers can appeal to young professionals. 
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Gamifying your call center workplace makes work feel more rewarding and fun. It drives engagement among your team and creates a culture of continuous improvement. Providing rewards for reaching key performance indicators (KPIs) encourages agents to perform their best. It also creates healthy competition that encourages creativity for solving customer problems. You gain insight into… Read More »

Gamifying your call center workplace makes work feel more rewarding and fun. It drives engagement among your team and creates a culture of continuous improvement. Providing rewards for reaching key performance indicators (KPIs) encourages agents to perform their best. It also creates healthy competition that encourages creativity for solving customer problems. You gain insight into which employees are reaching specific metrics and goals and which need additional training and coaching. This lets call center agents determine how well they are doing and helps them feel more accomplished at the end of the day.

 

Implement any of these engagement strategies to incentivize your call center agents.

 

 Get Creative With Training

Instead of holding traditional call center training sessions in a classroom, create a mix of videos and discussions to educate your agents. Include multiple-choice tests to determine how much your employees are understanding and retaining. Provide individual coaching in the areas that need improvement.

 

Reward Customer Interactions

Direct customer feedback can be used to increase your call center agents’ performance. This may include receiving a star rating from each customer after their interaction with a staff member. The feedback should include what the customer liked best about their experience and, if appropriate, suggestions for the employee to improve their performance. This can activate the reward center of each team member’s brain, motivating them to continue their great work or work to improve their performance.

 

Gamify Performance

Using incentives to measure agent performance makes the process feel more like fun than a monitoring system. Setting achievable performance metrics clarifies which goals your call center employees should be reaching in a set amount of time. Include rewards your staff will enjoy when reaching or exceeding their targets. Making it a competition between agents can also help gamify this process.

 

Use Point Redemption for Rewards

Create a point system based on the difficulty of each metric. The harder it is to achieve a metric, the more points that should be awarded. Establish prizes based on the number of points a call center agent accumulates. This may include food, a morning off, or another incentive your team will find appealing. The greater the points, the more valuable the rewards.

 

Target a Key Performance Indicator

Select a key performance indicator (KPI) you want your team to improve on. This may include average speed of answer, first call resolution, service level, or average handling time. Or, it could involve average hold time, percentage of calls transferred, or number of calls taken. The metric should be quickly measured by quality assurance software that tracks agents’ performance. This way, the winner can pick up their prize when their shift ends or begins the next day. Clarify for your team exactly what you will be looking for. Award a prize to the agent who performed the best on the metric. The reward may be a gourmet coffee drink, lottery tickets, a gift card, funny socks, an additional break, or other prizes your team would enjoy.

 

Start a Penny War

Divide your agents into teams, then give each team a bucket. Explain that coins placed in the buckets have different values. Pennies are worth one point and silver coins are worth negative points based on their value. For instance, a nickel is worth -5 points and a dime is worth -10 points. The teams can add coins to their own bucket or the competition’s buckets. At the end of the penny war, the team with the most points wins. They can select which charity receives all of the money.

 

Organize Call Center Olympics

Select multiple metrics that you want your agents to improve on over a set time period. Consider each metric a sport. The team member with the best score for each sport wins a medal or ribbon. Have an awards ceremony and party to celebrate the winners’ success.

 

Set Up Beach Party Bingo

Create a beach area with outdoor chairs and a sun umbrella. Include a tub of tennis balls labeled with a number and a bingo prize. Design a bingo card for each team member. Every time a call center agent reaches a KPI, they get to choose a bingo ball and receive the prize written on the ball. They also get to mark the number on their bingo sheet. The bingo winner receives a larger prize or perk.

 

Offer a Mystery Prize

Choose a unique mystery prize that your agents will not easily guess. Hide the prize or a picture of it in the call center. Choose a metric for your team to compete on for the day. Let them know that whoever performs the best on the metric will receive a clue to the prize’s location. The employee who finds the prize wins it.

 

Need to Add Agents to Your Call Center Team?

Salem Solutions has candidates with the skills, experience, and temperament needed to succeed in your unique environment. Reach out and request an employee today.

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Call center customer demands continue to increase in the digital age. Customers expect exceptional service when they call your agents. It is your job to help your call center agents find the tools they need to retain your customers. Strengthening the manner in which your customers are served can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.  … Read More »

Call center customer demands continue to increase in the digital age. Customers expect exceptional service when they call your agents. It is your job to help your call center agents find the tools they need to retain your customers. Strengthening the manner in which your customers are served can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

 

Five Strategies to Improve The Effectiveness of Your Call Center

 

Set Standards for Service Operations

Clarify the guidelines for your agents to follow when interacting with customers. These standards should include making each customer feel welcome, quickly answering questions and resolving problems, and looking for additional up-selling opportunities. They also should involve improvement of interaction quality, the availability of information, agent behavior, and appearance. You may want to find some common customer service scenarios and effective ways to solve them, then share the information with your agents.

 

Personalize Each Call

Make sure agents can access relevant information when a customer calls. This includes the customer’s name, what they purchased, and what their previous engagements with the call center were like. Additionally,  agents should use the customer’s name several times throughout a call.  You should also teach your call center employees how to express empathy and understanding. The customer should feel valued and respected for choosing to purchase from your company.

 

Perform a Root Cause Analysis for Problems

Find out the real cause behind the issues being discussed. This typically involves a product, service, or policy. Then, work to resolve it as quickly as possible. Next, implement proactive measures and ideas to prevent the issue from happening again. After that, find out whether the same type of problem is happening with related service tickets. If so, repeat the process for these tickets as well. To do this all issues and solutions should be recorded and tracked.

 

Encourage Feedback  

Ask each customer to provide constructive feedback on their experience. They may have a hard time reaching your customer service department, resolving their problem, or building a strong relationship with a customer service representative. Because a negative experience can impact your brand, you need to be aware of problems as they are reported and fix them as soon as possible.

 

Increase Efficiency and Productivity

The more calls your agents can handle in less time, the better. One way to accomplish this is by providing agents with better training. This may include finding instances where a group of agents needs additional coaching to better manage customers and build lasting relationships. Another way is by having agents provide dissatisfied customers with incentives and rewards. This may include a coupon for free or discounted future purchases to encourage the customer to return. A third method is by using chatbots to provide customer service and customer support. Having chatbots answer your most frequent customer questions frees up time for agent to handle other issues.

 

Need Transformative Call Center Talent? Salem Solutions Can Help!

The best way to improve your call center business is by hiring top call center talent. If you need help finding the perfect match for your business, please reach out!

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COVID has helped many job seekers and employers alike see the benefits of remote work. If you are one of the many job seekers looking to remain remote post-pandemic, then you likely will need to update your home office. This is especially true if you wish to work in the call center or customer service… Read More »

COVID has helped many job seekers and employers alike see the benefits of remote work. If you are one of the many job seekers looking to remain remote post-pandemic, then you likely will need to update your home office. This is especially true if you wish to work in the call center or customer service industry. Setting up a remote call center includes a variety of equipment and technology. The list of requirements for your employer may vary. This is why you must check to see exactly what is required for your specific role.

What You Should Have to Start Your Remote Call Center Job

Call Center Hardware

On a basic level, you need a computer, headset, and stable internet connection to create a work from home call center office. Your computer should be an employer-issued laptop or Chromebook, complete with a built-in webcam, to be used exclusively for work and dialing. Your headset needs to include a dialer system with echo-cancellation built into the microphone for the highest call quality. The software must be a web-supported software as a system (SaaS) dialer platform. The browser-based dialer requires multiple outbound dialing modes, prioritization for inbound dialing, and built-in dynamic scripting. A wired ethernet connection is necessary to provide a strong internet connection. When looking for a job be sure to ask your potential employer if they provide these tools or if you must acquire them on your own. Most employer will provide these to you prior to your start date.

 

Communication Capabilities

Clear paths for your workflows and communication methods are essential. For instance, you need a remote communication plan for handling call escalations. This determines whether an escalation should be taken as a call back or should be transferred to the supervisor. It should include what to do if the supervisor is unavailable. Also, instant messaging is best for individual or small group communication throughout the day. Additionally, email should be used to share high-level communication. For calls you need to make sure not to run into any audio issues. Tools that can help with this include the previously mentioned headset as well as stable internet connection.

 

Accountability Tools

Your time and productivity need to be monitored and reported in real time. This may include a dialer system that shows in real time whether you are on a dead call, on not-ready or pause, on an active call, or are available. Your abandonment rates, whether you are dropping calls, your speed dial, and whether you are running out of data must be monitored and reported as well. Make sure that you have or that the company provides you with all the tools you need to be successful. Most have processes in place but always ask questions to be sure.

 

Quality Assurance Monitoring and Scoring Software

The quality of your calls will likely be evaluated. This includes whether you stay on script and if follow compliance regulations for the state you are dialing. Also, they will monitor to make sure you are being respectful with customers. Dynamic scripting and state filters are used for a customized sales approach in a region and to comply with state and city regulations. Often times a company will have software to do this however if they don’t bring it up, you should be sure to ask about it.

 

Historical Reporting

Your performance must be tracked, analyzed, and reported on to uncover trends over a set time period. This provides insight into how you spend your time, how you perform on calls, and how your lists are converting. The company you work for will likely provide software to help with this tracking. If they do not, then ask if there is anything you need to download.

 

Are you looking for a remote call center job?

See which roles are available through Salem Solutions. Visit our job board today.

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The majority of customers leave a company because of a bad customer experience. This is especially true when it involves customer service. Customers expect to be treated with respect and have their needs met. Because they typically reach out to call centers with problems, they may be upset and frustrated. This is why a quick… Read More »

The majority of customers leave a company because of a bad customer experience. This is especially true when it involves customer service. Customers expect to be treated with respect and have their needs met. Because they typically reach out to call centers with problems, they may be upset and frustrated. This is why a quick connection to a knowledgeable agent, the right amount of empathetic interaction, and a quick resolution are so important.

 

Encourage Agents to Choose Among these Seven Phrases when Handling Customer Calls.

 

1.    “I understand how this could be frustrating. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this.”

Agents should put themselves in the customer’s position to imagine how they would feel if they were experiencing the same problem. Acknowledging the customer’s frustration and apologizing because of their experience validates their feelings and concerns. It also shows that the agent is listening to the customer’s concerns and understands where they are coming from. The customer should feel reassured, respected, and comforted during the conversation.

2.    “Thanks so much for your patience as we sort this out.”

Expressing appreciation to the customer for waiting shows gratitude for their business. It encourages them to stay on the line and wait for a resolution rather than purchase from a competitor. When agents state that they will resolve the issue for the customer, it shows that action is being taken to find a solution to the problem. Having the agent indicate that they are the problem solver tends to be more effective than saying their team or manager will handle the issue. Even if the team or manager is doing the work, the agent is coordinating it for the customer.

 

3.    “I’m happy to help you.”

Customers may feel embarrassed when calling about small issues. Having the agent reassure the customer that they would enjoy helping them shows that every concern matters to your company. This puts the customer at ease and shows that your company appreciates their reaching out for help. Remind agents to smile when offering their assistance. Their enthusiasm will show that they want to be of service in making things right. Adding positivity to the situation makes customers feel valued and have better experiences, encouraging customer loyalty.

 

4.    “Let me look into this.”

If an agent does not have an answer to a question or problem, they should let the customer know that they are actively finding one. Because some issues are unique, they may not fall under the category of frequently asked questions and require additional research to thoroughly address. Showing that the agent is taking an extra step to ensure the customer’s needs are filled demonstrates that they care about keeping their business. The agent should ask whether the customer can hold for a moment while they check for a solution. Or, the agent may ask whether they should call the customer back with an answer. Make sure the agent gets back to the customer in a reasonable amount of time without committing to a deadline. They could say “very soon” or “as soon as possible” rather than setting an expectation they may not be able to reach. Make sure the agent provides updates as often as possible. This builds trust with the customer and shows care for filling their needs.

 

5.    “Let me clarify, and please correct me if I get anything wrong.”

The agent should restate the issue to make sure they understood it and covered all of the relevant points. This provides time to clarify any misunderstandings before finding a solution. Confirming the accuracy of what the agent heard and interpreted helps to find an answer more quickly. Resolving the issue in less time should satisfy the customer.

 

6.    “I appreciate your bringing this to our attention.”

Gaining customer feedback about a problem lets your agents resolve it and prevent the issue from happening again. This helps with quality control. Expressing sincere appreciation for sharing the problem shows respect for your customers. Remind call center agents to apologize for the issue and thank customers for continuing to do business with your company.

 

7.    “Can I help you with anything else?”

Have customer service agents check that they addressed all of the customer’s concerns. This ensures the customer is satisfied with the quality of the resolution and invites them to ask more questions. Showing that the agent has time for the customer expresses appreciation for their business. Reducing customer effort increases customer satisfaction.

 

Are you looking for experienced call agents?

Reach out to Salem Solutions for vetted candidates. Learn more today.

 

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No matter what industry you are in, finding the ideal candidates for open positions is never an easy task. This is especially true when staffing government call centers. Recruiting candidates who have security clearance is one of the biggest challenges government call centers face. However, partnering with a staffing firm makes finding the perfect candidates… Read More »

No matter what industry you are in, finding the ideal candidates for open positions is never an easy task. This is especially true when staffing government call centers. Recruiting candidates who have security clearance is one of the biggest challenges government call centers face. However, partnering with a staffing firm makes finding the perfect candidates who have the authorization needed easier. Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

How Staffing Firms Help Government Call Centers Find Cleared Candidates

Larger Pool of Candidates

Finding ideal candidates is difficult enough. Adding additional requirements makes the talent pool even smaller. Premier staffing agents have access to an extensive network of talent with both the clearance and skills needed for government call centers.

Improve Time-to-Hire and Cost Rates

Time is money. Managing hiring and staffing metrics are crucial. A staffing agency can help you improve and maintain these critical metrics in the following ways:

  • Larger talent pool – Makes it quicker and easier to find qualified candidates
  • Pre-screening – Forego sifting through countless resumes, receive only the most qualified applicants to interview.
  • No distractions – Helping employers find and hire personnel is all staffing agencies do, which means they will not be distracted with other tasks, helping you find the hires you need more quickly.

These strategies will help you reach your key metric goals, improving the efficiency of call center operations.

Reduce Turnover Rates

A high turnover rate is costly. It takes additional time, money, and resources to begin the whole hiring process, post open positions, vet hundreds of resumes (many of which are not qualified), and spend countless hours interviewing candidates who may or may not make the cut. A staffing agency will handle all of the legwork by:

  • Posting a carefully curated job posting
  • Sourcing and vetting applicants
  • Identifying candidates who are the best fit for the position

By taking the time to seek out only the best-suited applicants, employees are more likely to stay longer, significantly reducing turnover rates. In short, working with a staffing firm to find candidates will save you time, money, and stress.

Need Help Finding Qualified Call Center Employees? Salem Solutions Can Help!

Salem Solutions is the nation’s leading government call center staffing agency. With a wealth of experience, we provide unsurpassed accuracy, flexibility, and support to organizations just like yours. Let us take care of the hassle of finding the perfect candidates with security clearance while you focus on running your call center. Contact us today, and let’s get started!

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As with any career, when you start at a call center, you already have an eye towards the future and how you can grow and advance. The key is to continuously learn and hone your abilities. Working your way to the top in a call center is as much about hard skills as soft skills.… Read More »

As with any career, when you start at a call center, you already have an eye towards the future and how you can grow and advance. The key is to continuously learn and hone your abilities. Working your way to the top in a call center is as much about hard skills as soft skills. This is your guide to 5 soft skills you can begin developing from day one!

Five Skills That Will Advance Your Call Center Career

Communication is Key

At the heart of call centers are communication. Employees must be able to communicate with customers and other team members effectively. These tips will help improve your ability to communicate:

  • Never assume information is common knowledge. Carefully explain every situation.
  • Within the call center, take note of how each person likes to communicate and tailor to them. For instance, some will prefer email or phone while others want a face-to-face conversation.
  • Do not keep pertinent information to yourself. Be sure to share with those in your organization who need to know.

Manage Stress Effectively

Call centers naturally can be stressful atmospheres. They are very fast-paced, and there will be times you must deal with angry customers. It is vital that you learn how to manage stress. It is all about compartmentalizing. Devise strategies to deal with one stressful situation at a time while keeping your cool and not allowing it to ruin your entire shift.

Walk a Mile in Your Customers’ Shoes

Let’s face it. Customers do not call because they are happy with the service. They are having an issue with a product or service. In most cases, customers just want to know they are understood. Empathize with every caller and try to feel what they must be feeling. Try listening carefully, taking notes, and thoroughly analyzing an issue before you present a solution. The better you are able to connect with callers, the higher your success rate.

Put Out Fires

As mentioned above, customers can become incredibly angry. A heated situation will not lead to a positive resolution, and the caller will get off the phone still upset. Instead, work to de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible. Follow these tips:

  • Maintain a calm tone of voice
  • Show concern and understanding for their problem
  • Ask what the best-case solution is for them and come as close to it as you can.

Are You Ready to Take Your Call Center Career to the Next Level?

Whether you are just beginning your career or a veteran ready to advance, the above tips will help hone your skills. Don’t forget, when it’s time to find your next call center job, partner with Salem Solutions. They specialize in call center staffing and can help you find a rewarding career that fits your goals. Don’t waste another minute! The beginning of your next chapter starts by contacting us!

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