Whenever you call someone, be it your family, friends, colleagues, or support staff; you always expect to hear a “Hello” even before you reach mid-tone. The sound of the dial tone is always irritating no matter what music is put up against it. Now imagine it’s your customer. In an inbound call center, the entire credibility of the organization is based upon metrics like customer rating, customer experience, and customer satisfaction.
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What is an inbound call center?
Call centers have outbound calls and inbound calls. When a certain contact center specializes in taking up inbound calls only, it is called an inbound contact center. Such contact centers are mostly in-house solution hub for big business houses that could rather pool up resources, technology, and manpower than to outsource the same operations to some professional-grade operating places for customer information and query resolution.
Inbound v/s outbound call centers
Inbound call center agents specialize in customer satisfaction, resolution delivery, and engagement for the existing customer base.
Outbound call centers are more like communication outreach to attract new customers by playing on goodwill. It is advertising and informative in nature.
5 features of inbound call centers
With call centers moving to virtual solutions and technical aids, inbound call centers must have enough help to disseminate the right solutions, as quickly as possible, without any faulty mix-up, at the right time, to the right person, via a right choice of medium.
1. Call distribution
Call distribution via automated call distribution software helps in removing agents’ time from selecting and discarding calls and automatically aligning tickets that are concerned with service staff’s area of expertise in solution delivery; e.g., technical, consumer goods, electrical, telecommunication, etc.
2. Call handling
Call handling refers to taking up calls in form of tickets, aligning them by priority or complexity of the issue, assigning them to an expert in a pertinent field of a query, calming the caller via interaction (automated or humane).
3. Call routing
Using IVR helps in automating responses using machine learning-powered robotic answers. These bots are trained to give audio responses in the computer modified voice that resembles the human tone of the interaction.
4. Agent refreshers
One cannot expect the utmost positive results from their workforces without providing them with updated knowledge and recent equipment. Products keep undergoing innovation and to keep agents updated with all possible queries that come along, frequent product refresher training must be organized.
5. Performance evaluation
The performance of an agent is an important point of evaluation to track their growth. Agents are human assets to the organization making their growth and dynamism complex yet extremely essential. Quizzes and tests after each chapter in LMS help agents track their performances theoretically while ticket recordings track their performances on the floor.
Inbound contact centers in a numeric trail
- 76% of the contact centers face cringe on financial fronts
- As high as 10% of contact center workforce is obliterated with absenteeism
- A Cornell University study suggests 33% employee attrition rate on an average
- More than 50% of millennials and Gen Z still call contact centers for assistance
Top 8 KPIs for an inbound call center
- Average Handle Time
- First Call resolution
- Customer Success
- Customer Experience
- Customer Satisfaction
- Call Attrition Rate
- Call Waiting
- Agent Error
Top 6 challenges faced in inbound call centers
1. Weak finances
Inbound call centers are based only on call queries and tickets that are forwarded from the customer’s side towards the agents’ side. Inwards call basically show the loopholes that product manufacturers have. They require improvement which means a fall in the number of repetitive complaints. This thus leads the management to usually think that investment in R&D assures shrinking down the budget on inbound contact center software and equipment thus downsizing it.
2. Obsolete tech support
In addition to predictive diallers, automated solution dispersion, and random ticket screening, back-office tech support, AI, mixed reality, etc are also important. Many times proper knowledge base is present but it lacks ease of accessibility thus making its presence null and void.
Repeating the same exercises over and over again makes the actions boring and monotonous. The agents almost work like a robotic humanoid trained in cyclical operations. This leads to absenteeism on the job. The agents might even come out as rude while delivering complicated solutions as it too might get quite routine to them.
4. Employee churn
When employees are not satisfied with their seniors and mentors they tend to engage in a daily schedule of working without motivation and keep looking for a change. A little encouragement is essential and feedbacks must be channeled through proper media. Training is not enough if there is no support knowledge base to disseminate the same.
5. Time ticker
The number of tickets and priority status docketed at each of them multiplies with time. Agents usually face immense pressure to provide the best assistance and quality services while handling as many tickets as they can; this leads to them performing poorly, diminishing FCR in an attempt to reduce AHT.
6. Customer engagement
Customer engagement is not an easy task as it involves understanding the dynamism of the human brain and getting involved to calm them down, get details of the issue, guide them through the solution steps, and close the ticket. An integrated CRM is essential to aid the same.
Best 5 solutions to inbound call center problems
1. Improving FCR
FCR is a key metric as dependent on it are KPIs like CX, CS, CSAT, SL, etc. To improve FCR, it is important to not only pay attention to delivering quality and quick solutions but also to know the root cause of customer complaints and the reason for them to reach out to you.
2. Compact knowledge base
When inbound contact centers receive queries, they shall not essentially be in the form of calls. It can be through social media, text, and tickets. A compact knowledge base thus helps agents in forwarding resolution or navigating customers through solutions as and when needed.
3. Customer churn
When customers are not satisfied with the quality of services, they tend to find alternatives. In markets as dynamic as today’s, it is utmost easy as your competitors shall themselves walk down taking over your customers. Keep regular contact and establish bilateral dialogues to graph their expectancies.
4. Management issues
CX heads, operations heads, report analyzers, and trainers can go harsh on agents at times. Especially with contact centers going virtual and remote; the heads might see all delayed, extended, and unclosed tickets as agents’ inefficiency which actually might be due to lack of proper support, guidance, and ambiance.
5. Agent training
The training of agents must be constructive, light, interactive, and productive in long run. Two basic skills are communication and empathy. Experienced personnel must be available to guide agents throughout their journey. Agents should be fluent with products, customers, processes, and procedures.
Inbound contact centers require the best-trained personnel on the job. It is a challenge as much as behind the dialler as it is on the field. Customer service executives should be good enough that they communicate the required solution to the correct destination incorrect time frame via the correct channel. The solution should be updated, information verified, and must be efficient enough to lay down the foundation for customer trust.
While outbound call center operations play a key role in expanding customer base, inbound call center operations are responsible to build up goodwill and retain existing customers with long-term relations. This ensures maximum ROI over minimized expenses and a free ticket to advertisement and publicity for brand building.