Five Strategies to Avoid Crisis in the Contact Center

    GM ‘s well-publicized customer service nightmare, following its “faulty ignition” recall, is but one example of a major company in the throes of customer backlash in recent months. Amazon experienced a similar – and sudden – surge in customer complaints following its Christmas delivery fiasco. In times of customer crisis, what are the best practices and technologies available for handling these unannounced call center emergencies? With a recent ACSI report showing online shopping satisfaction at a 12-year low, it’s clear that customer experience is taking a beating. 

    There’s a lot of talk these days about “customer obsession.” In fact, 2014 has been dubbed by many as “The Age of the Customer.” Customers are now in the driving seat and expectations couldn’t be higher. Nowhere is this felt more than in contact centers, which is often where a customer has his or her first interaction with a company. Contact centers are a hub of activity during a normal business day, but as GM recently learned, customer demands can skyrocket – and in a matter of minutes. Here are five best practices, identified by Transera, Inc., that contact centers of any size can use during heightened call volumes due to crisis such as holidays, promotions and other unexpected occurrences.

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    Click through for five best practices any call center can employ to help deal with unexpectedly high call volumes, as identified by Transera.

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    Use scripting for consistent messaging

    When crisis strikes, you must have all of your agents on the same page as they answer higher volumes of concerned customers calling. The easiest way to keep messaging consistent across your contact centers is to use an automated scripting system. Scripts should be stored in a centralized location so that agents in any location can quickly access them during a crisis.

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    Put data to good use

    Contact centers have a wealth of data at their disposal both about their callers and their agents. The problem that many companies face, however, is that customer data is often siloed and difficult to access. Only by stitching together this otherwise disparate data can you can get a full overview of interactions between your customers and your agents. This will enable you to have the history you need to pair customers with the best agents for their call issue.

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    Know your agents and apply their strengths

    When a crisis occurs in the contact center, it is critical to immediately deploy your agents who are most skilled in handling crisis calls. For each of your contact center locations, you should have a system that identifies what your agents’ core customer response skills are. This will allow you to put your crisis experts on the line when time is of the essence. The additional benefit is that you will have only the most efficient agents responding to crisis, and the rest of your agents will be freed up to deal with everyday customer support calls.

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    Take advantage of the cloud

    Utilizing cloud technologies is an advantageous way to deploy global agents when necessary, as well as saving precious resources used for call center equipment. When call centers are overloaded from crisis, should that be from product recalls, seasonal rush or new promotions, cloud-based call centers enable companies to quickly rev up additional agents outside of the geographic region affected by crisis.

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    Unleash your resources around the globe

    During times of contact center crisis and heightened call volumes, it is crucial to have supplementary agents ready to handle customer service calls. The easiest way to handle suddenly increased call volumes is to utilize agents within your global network. In addition to adding more agents that can handle calls, this will also extend hours of operation, so that anxious customers can be served no matter the time of day.

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