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With 2013 becoming the “hot” year for webchat as a customer support channel, multi-lingual contact centers are planning ahead their strategies and either want too implament it or grow their already existing life web chat teams.
OpsTalent has prepared a list of tips on how to get the best out of webchat and provide the best customer service.
1. Provide a good FAQ.
Provide your customers with a proper Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on your web page, it will greatly reduce the volume of queries for this particular channel. This tip is directed towards those contact center managers that are afraid that their agents or even whole teams will get overwhelmed with the amount of queries.
2. Webchat will lead to a reduced phone call volume.
In most cases webchat won’t decrease the number of email communication for a contact center, but it will lead to s significantly reduced volume of phone calls.
That’s simply because the webchat is live, just like a phone call so that the customers that want to resolve their problem in real time choose it over email.
3. Don’t go in blind.
Opening a new channel, without a clear strategy is a big mistake most contact centers that want to “catch the wave, when it starts” make.
Going in blind can lead to increased volumes on other channels such as email, phone calls or social media, at times even a huge outburst from the target audience when the quality standard isn’t being met.
Also, what if the quality of service is high but you can’t measure if the conversion has hit the spot and provides revenue to the contact center.
Pick a webchat software provider that offers a wide range of features, mainly geolocation, time spent on webpage before initiating contact, if it’s a recurring customer what’s their order history – just don’t get too creepy.
Personalising messages is a small but often a welcome touch, just don’t turn into a stalker.
5. Financial Services and webchat don’t mesh…unless.
Considering the fact that customers need to convey crucial information through a secure channel, implementing webchat when dealing with financial services will only increase the volume of follow-up inbound and outbound calls.
And this is where the common misconception simply evaporates, goes “poof”.
Make the live webchat channel only available after the customer is securely logged into your system, the customer will be authenticated and it will be possible to convey all transactional data and information at ease.
6. You can blend agent skills.
It’s quite common that contact center agents that do well during phone calls, don’t have the skills to deal with email as a form of customer support. It works the other way around, agent’s that have exceptional writing skills done mesh with the voice communication channels.
This is where live webchat comes in, since just with a tiny bit of coaching you can turn your experienced contact center agents into effective and efficient live web chat problem solvers.
Let’s not forget the newest and most hyped up communication channel – social media.
Email, webchat and social media all require a similar, at times almost identical skill set.
Blend agent skills and prepare for the future.
7. Be professional.
Live webchat is considered less formal, but as far as we at OpsTalent know – less formal doesn’t equal not professional. Bad grammar and spelling will reflect poorly on an organisation.
Automated spell checking will help immensely but always write in a professional manor.
8. Problem resolution above speed!
First contact resolution is important for your business and the customer, it leaves a lasting impression – but don’t obsess about it.
Sometimes the problem turns out to be bigger than your contact center agent expected, simply arrange for another session, if you can’t find a suitable time schedule with the customer use email as the communication channel of choice.
Just make sure that the follow up email goes out ASAP, speed does matter but not as much as successful problem resolution!
9. Keep records.
This should be common knowledge, as with all forms of customer communications, keep the recorded, stored and indexed for easy access.
10. Don’t overburden your staff.
This one is quite important as far as staff attrition goes, three simultaneous chat sessions per agent should be the absolute maximum.
Anymore and you will overburden them, thus decreasing the quality of service.
For sensitive matters or key clients, you might want to use a one to one ratio.
For contact centers, providing excellent customer experience is most important , the biggest threat to that long term goal is employee attrition. Recruiting right people for the job has never been more important for your contact center.
But how should managers and supervisors filter out applicants?
Want to know if your future employee has what it takes to make it in the multilingual environment of a multichannel contact center?
Use these pointers:
Watch out for these essential skills.
- Call control and the ability to remain calm under pressure
- Communicating clearly and confidently, also grammar and spelling
- Ability to follow through from the initial call to any follow-up correspondence
- Ability to handle delicate situations and attention to detail
Ability to remain calm under pressure.
It’s one of the key attributes you should look out for when recruiting contact center agents. Clear communications skills, remaining calm under pressure, confidence and expert knowledge are essential.
Competence based interview.
Be sure to test skills and competencies of an agent with live role play action. Make the scenario as close to the actual contact center environment as possible, it will contribute to the recruitment process tremendously and also make it as interactive as possible. Also request for real-life examples when the candidate is speaking about previous experience, this will serve as great insight as to what should you look out for during the role play stage.
Recruit in numbers
Try to always recruit groups of five to eight future contact center agents, and possibly avoid recruiting one agent at time. Small groups will allow your future employees to learn from one another during the training process. This will also strengthen their self esteem, especially in newbies that are entering the industry for the first time since they are not alone. Make sure that agents are aware that “there are no silly questions” during the training process, make them feel comfortable while asking even the most obvious ones.
Be clear of what is expected on a particular project or a team. Be precise when explaining about company culture and policies. Honesty during the interview really helps, if an agents finds something uncomfortable after becoming an employee hell be more likely to quit, or won’t be as efficient as you expected him to be from the information gathered during the recruitment process. Be honest – it’s that simple.
With attrition rates for contact and call centers, especially in the multilingual environment are on a all time high – the average turn over rate is close to 15 percent. You can tone those rates down easily, invest in training and coaching. Prepare your new agents, show them what to expect and playback some difficult calls that ended in successful resolution. Five to three days of training is money well spent.
Be on the look out for candidates that can work under pressure, can communicate clearly and at the same time can deal with a plethora of new and exciting situations.
At the same time provide great training and self development opportunities, those will ensure company loyalty.
In the long run, these basic pointers will be your “secret weapon” in the war on staff attrition.
Within the multilingual environment of contact centers that deliver multichannel solutions, confusion can be a real bummer. So what steps should supervisors undertake in order to maximize efficiency, also what methods suit this specialized environment the most?
Most multilingual contact centers have a “business language” – the one that is used in standard day-to-day communication amongst all employees. The problem with this approach is that in order for it to function smoothly all employees need to speak the language at the same level.
You need to allow some “accommodation time” for the new employees, let them adapt and learn, remember language skills we learned at school don’t necessarily transfer quickly to a work environment.
Leave no room for misinterpretation
This is the most important step when it comes down to managing and excelling in this kind of environment, leave no room for misinterpretation at all cost. Be precise, to the point, keep it simple and when it comes to the new agents especially, don’t overburden them with irrelevant information.
Proper explaining is vital in order for the multilingual contact center to function properly and efficiently. Be patient and flexible, remember the language barrier is not the only hurdle you’ll encounter. Different nationalities can interpret information differently. Keep trying until your staff can clearly understand the task at hand. Cover each and every detail of project.
Don’t be afraid to change your approach.
If you notice that your message isn’t getting across don’t be afraid to change it. Repeating it over and over again won’t do any good, notice what words are you using, maybe you could re-phrase the message. Try explaining the task from a different point of view. Being repetitive is frustrating for all parties involved.
When explaining a difficult and complex project to the team, use visual aids alongside regular explanation of what is expected. This will provide amazing results in the long run, use screen-shots, charts or info-graphics etc. Be creative, but try not to overwhelm them with the visualizations.
Confirm and explain.
Always make sure that people understand you, confirm that by letting them explain things back at you. The dream employee is the one that isn’t afraid to ask questions regarding the task or project. Make sure that the team understands that. Be patient, you will be amazed how often the first explanation is often misunderstood.
Explain buzzwords and industry lingo.
Always explain industry lingo, and introduce buzzwords when assigning people to new projects. Keep in mind that different nationalities will at times use different terms and abbreviations.
To avoid potential confusion, agree on one standard definition.
A simple thank you goes a long way.
Try to learn some phrases in the languages commonly used by your agents and supervisors on key projects, even if the business language is English. Showing your employees that you’re making effort and that you value their culture will go a long way. Sometimes, simple phrases like “thank you” or “good morning” will boost morale and will bond you with co-workers.
If you are thinking of undertaking a management position in a multilingual environment such as a contact center, don’t be off put by the initial language barrier problems. Adapt and overcome, be flexible. The multicultural environment and diversity outweigh the initial minor frustrations by tenfold.