Effective and attentive communication is an essential aspect to the relationship between a call center rep and a customer or prospect. Behind every call is a real person looking for guidance or a solution to a problem. Your reps should be equipped with the tools and skills necessary to have a successful and meaningful call with any consumer, thus increasing sales, conversions and brand reputation. Here are the critical rep performance metrics for call centers that you should be looking at.
Active listening is a great skill for anyone to master and is a critical skill for call center reps to have. It doesn’t just involve what is being said throughout the call, but also the vocabulary and tone that is being used by these reps.
As it is increasingly difficult to let a consumer know that they are being heard over the phone (as opposed to during a face-to-face conversation), asking follow up questions, clarifying the issues being brought up and fostering an empathetic approach are great ways to avoid misunderstanding and ensure the consumer feels heard and understood. Paraphrasing what the consumer is saying and repeating it back to them is also a great way for call center reps to check their understanding of the matter, as well as help get to the root of the issue.
It’s important for call center reps to engage with and support their consumers to the best of their abilities. Active listening helps to create those genuine connections, allowing the rep to build a relationship and trust with the consumer, which will ultimately build trust between the consumer and your brand.
Call center reps are posed with the demanding task of pleasing and pacifying consumers on a daily basis. On the front lines of customer service, it is important that your reps are communicating effectively and professionally with consumers.
When a consumer calls in with a question or problem, it is critical to get to the root of the issue and satisfy the consumer without agitating or angering them further. Reps should remain patient with the consumer and exude a positive attitude, letting the consumer know that they are being heard and are not being a burden. When a rep presents themselves in a conversational and approachable manner, the consumer’s agitation is more likely to dissipate, allowing them to communicate more effectively.
When a rep displays a lack of professionalism, the consumer can get frustrated and escalate the call or situation, hindering both the communication between the rep and consumer, as well as the company’s reputation.
It is essential for call center reps to build a strong rapport with their consumers with an effective and empathetic approach.
A significant aspect of forging a great relationship with consumers is communicating patiently and effectively with them. A rep should refrain from interrupting the consumer, raising their voice or speaking too quickly or slowly. By matching the speed and style at which the consumer is speaking and making an effort to understand where their frustration is coming from, the rep will be able to center themselves as a positive point of contact.
Taking a WIIFM (what’s in it for me) approach will also aid in building rapport. Letting a consumer know what’s in it for them by making statements such as, “I want to help you take care of this so it’s one less thing you have to worry about,” or, “ I want to prevent this from happening again,” will let them know that you have their best interests at mind and want to help them alleviate their current situation and prevent it from regularly occurring.
Ensuring that your organization's reps are abiding by the laws and regulations set forth by the government is important. Checking to see how often reps are providing mandatory disclosures, such as the Recorded Call Disclosure and the Mini-Miranda Disclosure, signifies where the company stands in their regulatory compliance standards.
Under Federal Law, call center reps must disclose to consumers that their phone call is being recorded - whether it’s through a recorded call disclosure stated before the consumer gets to speak with the rep on the phone, or if the rep is stating it themselves. Likewise, in the case of the Mini-Miranda Disclosure, debt collectors are legally required to tell the consumer they are calling to collect a debt, and that any information given throughout the call will be used to do so.
Creating a sense of urgency during the call will help the conversation move faster and smoother, as well as eliminate doubt in terms of what the best solution is for the issue.
Helping to move the conversation along, instilling a sense of urgency will encourage consumers or prospects to move quickly and to take the next action without overthinking the situation. It will also reinforce to the consumer that the rep is the expert; it is important for the consumer to understand that the rep is knowledgeable in their company and products/services and that they know what is the best course of action to take for any given situation.
Not only is it important for a call center rep to practice effective and attentive communication, but it is also critical that they understand how to handle (and come back from) consumer objections.
Don’t give up after the first objection – listen, understand what the consumer is saying and have the appropriate rebuttal to overcome objections.
It is productive to challenge the consumer respectfully with the intention of understanding their perspective. Walk through the differences by asking clarifying questions such as, “Can you walk me through that,” “Why do you feel that way?” or, “Have you had any previous experiences that made you feel that way?"
Deescalate the situation by ensuring the person on the phone feels at ease and challenge their objection with patience and knowledge, without attacking their point of view.
Nothing creates more tension than a consumer getting on a call with someone who is supposed to have the knowledge to help them, only to realize the rep knows nothing more than they do.
Ensuring that your call center reps have a strong knowledge of the product and can speak to what they’re selling, will strengthen their abilities to handle objections and will lead to increased conversions and sales. How is a rep supposed to sell something they don’t know anything about?
Call Escalation Rates
Monitoring call escalation rates is a great way to understand how your reps are performing and where they may be in need of more training. Keeping track of how often consumers request to speak to a supervisor, as well as figuring out the ratio of how many calls do get sent over to a manager, can signify how prepared your call center reps are to take consumer calls, what issues they may be having and how many are having these issues. If a rep does have a high call escalation rate, it could mean that they need increased training on the product/service they’re selling and/or how to handle consumer complaints or requests.
The lower the escalation rate, the better. A low escalation rate signals a good rep who is able to handle tough situations on their own.
Strong closing techniques ultimately lead to — you guessed it — more sales.
Fostering that relationship built over the course of the call, reps should ensure that they have answered all of the consumer’s questions, ask if there is anything outstanding that they can help take care of, and get confirmation and agreement to move forward with the next steps. By using assumptive language, such as “after this, we’ll do…,” it centers the rep with a sense of expertise and confidence that makes it harder for the consumer to say no. It also doesn’t hurt to ask for a referral; if a consumer has had a good experience on the call, they are more likely to refer family members and friends.
A rep who is confident in their abilities to close at the end of a call is definitely a rep you want on your team.
Gain powerful insights into your calls for a holistic view of these critical performance metrics and more that can impact sales, customer satisfaction and compliance efforts with PerformLine’s Performance Management. Learn more about how PerformLine can provide you with 100% visibility into these call center metrics and more by speaking to one of our experts today.