Customer service is an essential part of doing business today, and can be one of the quickest ways to either gain or lose customers. When done right, a first-time customer quickly becomes a repeat customer. When done wrong, an otherwise loyal customer can be lost forever.
To improve customer service, many companies are finding that outsourcing it to a specialized firm is much more beneficial than trying to do it themselves. By outsourcing it to a professional, they are able to save significant money and time that they can use to better run their business.
Outsourced customer service firms are set up to handle all of your customer service needs in a way that can be easily tailored to your business. They focus on specialized training for their agents that allow them to handle any type of customer scenario.
Here are some of the benefits of outsourcing your customer service:
1) You save on both money and resources – Creating your own call center from scratch can be very expensive and a logistical nightmare. By using an outsourced call center, these costs are now spread over many different clients with no additional training required on your part.
2) 24/7 customer support – Around-the-clock availability is not an option for most companies with in-house customer service. However, many outsourced customer support options have the staff and resources to offer this kind of total access, which your customers will more than appreciate.
3) Increased flexibility and scalability – As call volumes rise and fall throughout the day, many agents can be left sitting idle and restless. This is not only bad for the agents, but it reduces productivity and efficiency if there aren’t other clients for the agents to work with. Sharing agents in an outsourced firm can substantially reduce the cost-per-call rate for each client.
4) Dedicated call managers – Many call managers at outsourced firms are specially trained to handle a much wider variety of customer scenarios. These dedicated managers not only cut down on additional training costs for hiring your own managers, but can increase your clients’ customer service experience as well.
5) Specialized industry knowledge and experience – Many outsourced call centers have expertise in a particular industry. This experience has given them insights and strategies that you can leverage that in-house call centers simply can’t offer.
6) Access to analytics and cost management tools – Outsourced call centers typically have advanced tools to measure per-call costs that in-house call centers do not. This allows them to share this information with clients every month to monitor the effectiveness of marketing campaigns while also saving the client money in the process.
7) Quality monitoring and control – Some call center activities require resources and experience that most in-house centers don’t have. Often certain monitoring tools and improvements plans are necessary to ensure certain benchmarks are met that only outsourced call centers have available.
Additional benefits like access to future technological improvements and a likely increase in your Customer Satisfaction Rating (CSAT) are also worth considering when it comes to outsourcing your customer service.
While outsourcing customer service can be an excellent way to not only cut costs and improve overall customer experience, it must be done the right way to be effective.
At Goodbay, our state-of-the-art call centers offer 24/7 support, specialized industry knowledge, advanced analytics and cost management tools, and much more.
We understand the needs of clients to provide top-quality customer service while also reducing costs and have designed our business to meet both of those needs better than any other provider. Get in touch with us to learn more!
At Goodbay Technologies, we always strive to be more than just another solutions provider for your organization. Yes, we want to make sure that your call center always has the people necessary to create better and more fulfilling service experiences for your customers. But we also want to offer a fair bit more than that, too.
If you had to make a list of all the qualities that separate you from your competitors and help to create a true advantage in your marketplace, customer service and the larger experience you offer would unquestionably be right at the top. As one of the most critical touch points between your business and your target audience, we need to offer more than just a friendly voice on the other end of the phone when someone reaches out to your call center. We aim to provide not just product experts who know your organization from the top down just as well as you do, but true brand ambassadors in every sense of the term.
As a valued partner with a vested interest in your long-term success, we work hard to achieve these goals every day by way of our robust and innovative Agent Certification Program. All told, this helps us make sure that it isn’t just anyone answering the phones in your call center, but the right people for the right task at precisely the right time.
Our Agent Certification Program: Breaking Things Down
The team at Goodbay Technologies are firm believers in the fact that every business is a little bit different from the next. Nobody does what you do quite like how you do it, which is part of what attracts so many people to your organization in the first place. But because of that, a “one size fits all” approach to customer support and call center services just won’t do. We need to play to the strengths that make you unique, which means that we also need to learn about those distinctive qualities as early in the process as we can.
This is why we work directly with our clients in an intimate way to not only onboard but also train our team of agents that will be providing your support moving forward. We want them to feel like they’re existing members of your organization, because in a lot of ways that’s exactly what they’ll be.
If you have your own dedicated training program, we can easily replicate that on our end and implement them at our own center. This in and of itself is a critical step towards making sure that our agents act as consistently as possible with your own values and internal structures moving forward.
If there’s ever a situation where one of our client’s training isn’t as mature as it needs to be to facilitate this – like if their own process is mostly comprised of tribal knowledge and on-the-job training – we’ll work hard with them to mature their own processes for the benefit of everyone involved. Not only will we be able to provide more effective customer service over time, but you’ll also have the rock-solid foundation necessary to improve your own efforts in the future.
This includes not only creating and documenting the training process itself in an easy-to-replicate way, but also involves the creation of training materials and content like email ticket examples, call recordings, and even the implementation of CRM screen share solutions.
Our People Are Designed to Support Your Processes and Goals
All told, user experience training on our clients’ products and services is critical to our core mission at Goodbay Technologies. After the onboarding and training processes have been completed, we segue all of our agents into our robust Agent Certification Program that helps to guarantee that everyone involved maintains “Company” certification to be able to support their customers.
To put it another way, this Agent Certification Program doesn’t just make sure that our agents are experts in customer service. It guarantees they’re experts in your business above all others, regardless of how that business continues to change and evolve.
All of our agents must take either weekly or monthly online tests to maintain that certification once they’ve achieved it. We feel that this is a critical part of the process, as our client’s products are constantly in a state of flux. You depend on innovation to maintain your competitive advantage in the marketplace, but that also shouldn’t hinder your customer service efforts by way of products that are evolving faster than the agents are. Because of this pressing need, we consistently and continuously train our agents through our Agent Certification Program to guarantee they’re always ready for anything your audience happens to throw at them.
Our Mission Involves Helping You Accomplish Yours
By design, our Agent Certification Program helps to guarantee that all of our agents are always up to speed on what is going on with your company. But more than that, it’s also an invaluable tool to identify those agents who need further training in specific areas of support where they may not be as naturally strong as their peers. As soon as we identify these training issues, we take proactive steps to reduce the likelihood that further issues and problems will arise when engaging with a customer in the future.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Goodbay Technologies will carry the cost of ALL ongoing agent training and certification as part of our mission to better serve you in any and all ways that we can. It is our top priority to eliminate the burden of our client’s own in-house teams to consistently have to train their own customer service agents, a process that takes a tremendous amount of time, money and energy to execute correctly.
Once our agents are certified, whenever they engage with a customer, they are speaking as a user themselves. That makes for not only a much more fluid conversation with the people you’ve dedicated yourself to serving, but also higher levels of customer satisfaction as well.
When a customer speaks with a certified agent, they are speaking with more than just a true product expert. They are speaking with a true brand ambassador, which is exactly how it should be.
In the end, you’re left with something more than just simple outsourced customer service. You’ve got a team of people who are friendly, knowledgeable, infinitely helpful and forward thinking. At your disposal is a collection of people who know your products – and your customers – every bit as well as you do. At that point, you can stop focusing so much on customer service and can instead turn your attention towards the most important thing of all: running the business you’ve always dreamed of. Because the truth is, our services and efforts like our Agent Certification Program aren’t designed to replace your existing employees. They’re designed to empower them, supporting them in a meaningful way so that they can help accomplish your own mission today, tomorrow and beyond.
If you’d like to find out more information about our Agent Certification Program, or if you’re just eager to discuss how product experts and brand ambassadors may fit in with your own long-term strategy as a company, please don’t hesitate to contact Goodbay Technologies today.
To say that there’s a lot of hype surrounding the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), at this point, might be something of an understatement.
According to a study recently conducted by Stanford University, the total number of active startups operating in the AI space has increased by a massive 1400% since 2000. Adobe estimates that the number of jobs requiring AI has increased by 450% since as recently as 2013. Things have gotten to the point where, according to Monster.com, the three most in-demand skills for new hires today are machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing – all of which tie directly into the larger category of artificial intelligence.
As one would expect, this isn’t just changing the way businesses operate in the present – it’s changing the shape of their futures, too. A significant 83% of businesses say that artificial intelligence is one of the biggest strategic priorities for their business today. 61% of business professionals say that machine learning and AI together are their company’s most significant data initiative for the next year, regardless of the type of business they’re running or even the industry that they’re operating in. Based on all of this, it should come as no surprise that the global value of the AI market will balloon to a massive $190 billion by as soon as 2025, this according to the research firm Markets and Markets.
Of course, all of this demands a fairly important question: what does the rise of artificial intelligence mean for the future of your call center? The answer to that question requires you to keep a few key things in mind.
Artificial Intelligence and Call Centers: The Story So Far
These days, everyone is talking about the myriad of different ways that you can use AI and similar techniques like chat bots to not only answer support tickets, but to also drive down costs across your enterprise. But the fact of the matter is, experience has shown that even with all the advancements in machine learning that are taking place around us every day… AI is still just not very good at these types of tasks.
Sure, it’s absolutely true that bots are fine for the most basic of tasks. They’ve been able to help call centers reduce incoming ticket volumes by between 20 and 30% in many cases by giving customers an easy way to interact with their accounts and make basic adjustments without the intervention of a living, breathing human being. Based on that, it’s safe to say that there is very much a home for bots to drive overall efficiency.
However, that undeniable advantage comes with a fairly big caveat: using bots to manage a customer support experience and using them to create a better one are two entirely different concepts and need to be treated as such.
The more complicated the task you hand over to artificial intelligence, the less likely that task is to get done correctly. At that point, you’re talking about worse than a lateral move – you’re talking about something that harms your long-term efforts at support and retention, not helps them.
The Trouble With Artificial Intelligence in the Call Center
For the purposes of this discussion, the main type of artificial intelligence that you need to concern yourself with as applied to the modern day call center is called the Front End Deflection method. As its name suggests, this is a type of proactive support that usually involves knowledge capture, a chat bot and similar techniques that often enters into the equation prior to the customer ever writing a support ticket in the first place.
The goal of this type of solution is generally to inject some logic and intelligence into the situation as early as possible, in an effort to deflect potential issues up front. In call centers, this is the type of AI that most people know about and have the highest degree of experience with – it’s also the type that is largely responsible for a reduction in call center volumes, as outlined above.
The problem with this is that it’s also the least up to date and least dynamic type of solution out there. The “brains” of the solution are fundamentally restraint to the content that has been manually created by humans and made public on your website and/or support site. If that type of content doesn’t exist, the solution cannot draw from it.
This, of course, is where the problems begin.
The tangible “help” that this type of solution is very basic. If a customer loads an interaction with a chat bot and asks a question, the active assistance that it can provide is limited to “if you have a problem with your bill, go HERE. If you want to find out more information about a charge, go HERE” and things of that nature.
Because the content that solution is drawing from is essentially incomplete, if a customer were to replace words in a ticket, the system is unlikely to pick up on it. The major issue is that nobody actually writes this content with SEO and AI logic in mind – meaning that critical synonyms are often lost. Full and complete answers are often not written in these locations, which limits the overall efficacy of these solutions to somewhere around 15 and 20% – in the absolute best case scenario.
Another issue is that most companies want to be very guarded with this information, as it essentially amounts to intellectual property. The majority of it is set to be used by an internal macro and/or support article, to be given to trained and proficient customer support agents to answer a specific question from a customer. This method is usually preferred instead of putting detail into a larger “playbook” that is available to everyone in the general public.
More Intelligence, More Problems
To get an idea of what this looks like in practice, consider the example of a player for a mobile video game interacting with a customer support service to assist with a problem they’re having. Once they write and support a support ticket, must current customer relationship management platforms will offer automated responses to answer tickets BEFORE an actual human ever has an opportunity to do so.
The problem is that the player is having very specific issues and they’re not necessarily outlining those problems in a way that the AI-powered system can “understand.” Lingo, buzzwords and unique words that are used in the “world” of the game get looked over as unrecognizable – the system has a hard time linking them to the best article to feed to the customer. A human customer support employee who plays the game themselves would pick up on these words – a computer, however, won’t.
Likewise, if the player writes something to the effect of “I played in the weekend tournament promotion a few days ago, but I still haven’t gotten my rewards” – the player didn’t write which tournament, which means that the system has no idea what articles to offer up. A human would absolutely know which particular tournament they were talking about based on the date and the context of the conversation, even if multiple exist within the system. Artificial intelligence won’t be able to recognize this because oftentimes time-related content (think: events, games, specific promotions, etc.) are all handled by the Live Ops teams that do all event-based promotions.
Equally complicating things is the fact that oftentimes support tickets are not as straightforward as artificial intelligence “needs” them to be. Once people start to ask three or four different questions in a single ticket, AI is easily confused. Depending on the specific phrasing and word choices of the player, it might serve up several support links or it might only offer one – thus leaving all other questions unanswered.
Finally, one of the major issues that comes along with most modern day artificial intelligence solutions is that it treats all customers the same – which is a problem, particularly in situations like gaming companies who depend on things like micro transactions as a form of repeat business.
An AI-powered system, for example, essentially cannot “acknowledge” new users. This is a person who problem hasn’t spent any money on the game yet, as they’re likely using virtual currency that was given to them when they originally signed up for their account. They may be a big spender in the next week or two, however – it’s just that they haven’t developed this pattern yet.
Humans can give particular types of responses that cater to the needs of these new users. By treating all customers the same, artificial intelligence cannot. It won’t be able to acknowledge the number of logins that player has had, for example, and it won’t have information about whether or not that person participated in recent tournaments, etc. Non-spenders absolutely have the potential to become spenders if they’re given the appropriate amount of care and attention during these fragile early days of their relationship. If you create a positive experience – if you welcome them to the community in the right way – you’re in a position to help make this happen. While an artificial intelligence response is better than nothing, it does little to actually further that relationship during this pivotal moment in its existence.
The truth is, even most sophisticated clients have maxed out on an accurate artificial intelligence response rate of between 25 and 30%. Average clients hover around 10 to 12%. Neither of those situations is ideal, and neither proves that artificial intelligence is the “magic bullet” we’ve been waiting for.
Most clients dedicate between 12 and 18 months of time, money and effort to get artificial intelligence to work properly – and between 70 and 80% of them end up giving up entirely. At that point, the facts are clear: artificial intelligence isn’t an opportunity cost, it’s a cost of opportunity in a time where you can’t really afford it.
Why a “Best of Both Worlds” Approach is Critical
Even as we move into 2019, customers are still not ready to have artificial intelligence and bots handle EVERY support issue that they have – as the issues outlined above go a long way towards proving. They understand these limitations, too – which is why many of them still insist on human support more often than not.
However, that doesn’t mean they want you to get rid of AI entirely – and you shouldn’t want that, either. Customers like the fast and easy answers to simple questions they can get from a bot. However, they also prefer that human touch to more serious issues. In those situations, they often find automated responses cold and inhuman and, worst of all, unhelpful. This makes them feel like your company doesn’t actually value their business enough to allow them to speak with a living, breathing person – thus harming the customer experience, not helping it.
Again – AI does have a place in the future of your call center, it just might not be the one you originally thought. Gone are the days where you can get by hiring low skilled customer support agents to handle monotonous transactional work. Instead, agent skill levels will only need to be further elevated in the not-too-distant future to handle critical thinking and judgement calls during the fragile post AI/bot interactions.
This is going to increase the cost of these agents, certainly, as they will be in a better position to command a premium hourly rate or salary – with expensive benefits packages needed to attract and retain top talent inflating an already loaded cost.
Luckily, there’s a better way – and it’s a lot more attainable than you might think.
The Goodbay Approach
At Goodbay Technologies, our intelligence customer support team is excellently equipped to handle tickets and calls post IVR or bot interaction. We’re a collection of passionate, critical thinking, empathetic problem solvers who use our best judgment to handle all tickets and other issues that a bot simply cannot.
Our highly skilled agents are perfect for lowering your costs in the ways that you thought AI would, all with the same quality of support you’ve come to expect on a 24/7 coverage basis.
In the End
Ultimately, nobody is saying that artificial intelligence, machine learning and related concepts will not one day become a ubiquitous part of life in a call center. It’s true that significant advancements are being made all the time, and every day things like chat bots get a little bit better than they were the day before.
Having said that, in the present day, they’re still not quite “ready for prime time.” If your company does not care about important metrics like CSAT scores and the quality of the customer experience that you offer on the balance of the 70 to 80% of tasks that cannot be automated, by all means – automate away. At that point, it’s clear that driving down costs are your only priority and to that end, AI will help nicely.
But if you do value a strong and positive customer experience – and make no mistake, you should – you need to think about artificial intelligence differently than your competitors. Remember that the quality of the customer experience you offer and the level of satisfaction you’re able to bring to people every day is the major driver of your competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded marketplace. It’s what allows you to stand out in a crowd and, more importantly, it’s what empowers your customer retention efforts.
Even though technology has come a long way, there are still a significant number of support tickets that absolutely require careful thought and the type of decision making that only human beings can provide.
For the best results, at least for the next few years, most call centers will likely want to experiment with a mixture of human support professionals and AI/machine learning-powered solutions like chat bots. This is particularly critical if customer retention is important to you, and if the lifetime value of a customer is significant to your business.
For the vast majority of all businesses, be they mobile gaming companies, e-commerce brands, or businesses focused on consumer electronics, the future of your organization depends on your ability to build strong, intimate and organic relationships with your customers where they keep coming back for more. If they keep coming back for more, they keep spending more – and at that point, the cost of retention with a high quality support system in place is far lower than the cost to acquire a new customer.
So while it’s true that a bot may save you the aforementioned 20% of new tickets by volume, it’s going to cost you dearly on the other 80% by way of customer attrition.
Instead, you need to look at the current state of artificial intelligence for what it really is: an opportunity. Not one that will allow you to replace your people, but instead to empower them – giving them a chance to work “smarter, not harder” in an appreciable way. With the amount of time they’re saving on that 20% reduction in ticket volumes, they now have more time than ever in a day to devote to the most important thing of all: getting out there and providing that intimate level of support to customers that, at least right now, the machines simply cannot match.
If you’d like to find out more information about the never-ending battle between artificial intelligence and humans in the context of call centers, or if you have any additional questions you’d like to discuss in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Goodbay Technologies today.
The international marketplace is consistently evolving, merging globalization and technology to create new opportunities in innovation. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in the omni-channel era provides a way for companies to interact with customers across traditional channels such as email, live chat and telephone, with BPO partners expanding customer interaction with non-traditional channels.
What are these non-traditional channels?
Non-traditional channels include:
800 number support is becoming a last resort due to long hold times. Customers have taken things into their own hands, utilizing social media such as Twitter to @ a company to get their questions answered, or alert the company of an issue. Smart companies have their BPO partners respond in real time, mostly through traditional channels to solve problems offline. Due to the promptness in which issues are resolved, customers are incentivized to change or edit their complaint to a positive review.
BPO partners also engage directly with customers through in-app support. This increases the level of response time, and keeps transactions easily accessible. Major CRMs have an SDK integration that is compatible to effortlessly work with agents and customers.
App store/Google Play & retail reviews
When consumers are frustrated, they usually skip support and go leave a negative review. BPO partners now engage customers in their review sections to let the customer know their feedback has been seen and valued. BPO partners takes the interaction offline, resolving the issues and politely requesting a follow-up positive review. This works in improving the company’s brand image, increases sales and user acquisition. Good reviews are necessary, as most people do not engage with brands who have poor reviews.
Digitally transforming with BPO
Business Process Outsourcing must change with the times. Forward-thinking companies implement new digital transformation strategies that work to engage customer interaction through real time channels. This works to reduce the amount of concurrent agents staffed to handle inbound call volume and remain efficient in the handling of digital channel support. This can occur with less agents, as the need for direct call interaction is lessened.
Most companies consider BPO as a back office outsourcing function, with an emphasis on functions such as human resources, finance and customer service. These functions could also extend to telecom, healthcare, retail and more. A very lucrative platform, global outsourced services continues to rise, with revenues under $100 billion in 2012.
Now, BPO location is considered archaic, with a perceived notion that specific locations of the globe offer better BPO support. This is incorrect. We live in a global society where everyone has access, and agents in foreign countries are the norm, especially if they are smart, empathetic problem solvers. With digital channel support being at the forefront, customers do not know where their agent is handling their issues, whether it is local or overseas. There are a number of companies who have their reservations about having foreigners handling their accounts and critical business functions, but good providers in this area address these concerns and demonstrate their capabilities through innovative project management.
Advantages of BPO
BPO handles customer support, but also offers CX consulting to improve CSAT, KPIs and SLAs through their work with multiple clients and exposure to different customer experiences. Standard companies who have in-house support only know how to operate in their manner. Working with a BPO provides exposure to many different customer support strategies, and allows the company to choose the best solutions to implement with their BPO partner that can enhance and correctly represent the brand and customer journey strategy.
A good example of a BPO provider working with digitally disruptive companies, blue chip companies and unicorns to implement digital transformation strategies is Goodbay Technologies. They provide non-traditional support from Bangalore, working with high-growth companies with expensive labor markets like San Francisco, New York, Barcelona and Manchester. Goodbay also delivers a 30-50% cost savings on customer support labor while delivering support quality that is on par, or in most cases, better than in-house customer support.
How important is a strong BPO?
With customer service being one of the top priorities in organizations today, BPOs must pay attention to U.S. consumers and their dismay with service through international call centers. There must be an emphasis on delivering the best experience no matter where the agents are located, as the BPO model has shown no signs of regression, and is expected to continuously grow over the next few years.
With many companies switching to online models as the foundation of how they now do business, they are starting to realize how important it is to have a strong customer support platform in place that will get results. The BPO model must take into account the apprehensiveness of U.S. based companies, delivering well educated, articulate and knowledgeable customer service teams, regardless of their location.
The implementation of the BPO model reinforces how companies can utilize their in-house employees more effectively working on relevant projects that will increase revenues, leaving the other functions on the BPO to fulfill. In many instances, the human resources function will handle recruiting, resumes, interviews, onboarding and other protocols that would usually fall under the in-house staff. This process helps retain good talent while aligning with the company’s goals. As part of the strategic process, the individuals working in the customer service area undergo handle to training to ensure they are in step with the strategic goals and know enough about the products they represent to put customers at ease.
Establishing the right partnership with a BPO provider who has the experience and track record to make a difference in your organization is key for staying ahead of the curve in a digitally progressive space. With 17 years of CX consulting experience, Goodbay Technologies has earned their reputation of helping businesses in the retail and business space take their strategic goals to the next level through premium BPO services. They specialize in guiding high-growth companies through the consumer experience model, providing the protocols needed to deliver effective, high-level service from anywhere in the world.
According to one recent study, there are approximately 60,850 call centers with ten seats or more located within North America alone.This represents 3.3 million agent positions in an industry that, according to Gartner, is valued at about $28 billion.
Of that number, BPO Companies – those that operate in both an inbound and an outbound capacity – represent about 5.1% of the industry, or roughly 2,900 centers.
For years, businesses in nearly every industry that you can think of have turned to outsourcing their call center operations for two key purposes. First, it’s long been seen as a viable way to expand an organization’s own ability to service the needs of its customers beyond what they’re naturally capable of. If you outsource your call center operations to a third party, those in-house employees who would normally be filling those roles are then free to focus on bigger, better and more proactive actions.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, call center outsourcing has historically been seen as an efficient way to save money that can be better used elsewhere.
Make absolutely no mistake about it: those days are over.
The relationship that an organization has with its clients is about more than just answering questions and solving problems. Those customer interactions, in many ways, act as the foundation upon which everything else is built. It’s an often missed opportunity to provide value to as many people as possible in the most effective way that you can, all while taking average customers and turning them into loyal advocates along the way.
Outsourcing your call center may be an action that saves money in the short-term, yes. That much is still true. But what is missing in terms of actionable insight and intelligence by sticking to a “one size fits all” approach to customer interaction can cost dearly in the long run.
Far too often, companies still rely on standard reporting to fuel the important decisions they’re making in this regard. That standard reporting relies on the premise that all companies are created equally and all audiences been serviced are the same – something that is woefully inadequate on the best of days, and unacceptable on the worst.
The fact of the matter is that by using the right data and analytics, coupled with a consulting mindset, companies can still position their call center as the significant profit and market leadership opportunity that it has the potential to be. By making a concerted and ongoing effort to dive beneath the standard reports that companies often look at, it’s possible to collect, synthesize and use massive volumes of data to uncover tremendous insights that would otherwise go undiscovered.
Those insights can then create a snowball effect in the best possible way, ushering in a new series of recommendations, driving policy, improving products and services and more. They also bring with them perhaps the most important benefit of all: a real competitive advantage to an organization that looks at their data from a strategic and consultative point of view.
If you have the right partner, that is.
Having the right partner that can think in these terms and offer this level of consulting offers companies of all types the type of strategic advantage that comes along once in a generation, if that. Without this partner, these gains aren’t just difficult to obtain on your own – they’re essentially impossible.
But luckily, all of this is significantly more straightforward than it may appear to be at this point. It is very possible to leverage the full power of consulting and data analytics to better evaluate and position a call center to ready itself for the challenges of the next five years and beyond. All it requires is for you to keep a few key things in mind.
It All Comes Back to the Customer Experience
If you had to make a list of some of the most valuable assets you have as a business, customer experience would be right at the top.
Also commonly referred to as CX for short, customer experience is about more than just whether or not your products and services work. It’s about whether they work well, offering something that users are unlikely to find anywhere else.
But more than that, it’s about the sum total of every experience that a customer has with a business – both before they make a sale and, most importantly, after. Focusing on this is also a decision that brings with it a host of powerful benefits that can’t be ignored, from a new ability to improve customer retention to a way to improve customer satisfaction to a chance to increase cross-selling and up-selling opportunities and more. According to one recent study conducted by Oracle, a full 86% of buyers say that they would be willing to pay more for something if that added cost guaranteed a better experience. Likewise, it should come as a surprise to nobody that businesses that lead in CX tend to outperform those who don’t by nearly 80%.
Your customer experience strategy therefore becomes the set of plans, policies, best practices and procedures that you put in place to guarantee that you’re always delivering a value-filled, meaningful and above all else positive experience across those interactions.
Your call center is right at the heart of all that, and it has been for quite some time.
This is once again another major reason why using analytics and a consulting mindset is so critical when it comes to managing an outsourced call center. CX consulting, along with data and analytics, can help usher in not just a new era of customer support but intelligent customer support. Your call centers need to be able to do more than just answer calls. They need to answer them better than ever before, all while feeding insights into customer relationship management (CRM) platforms and the different solutions that a business uses. Your call center needs to support different levels of working with clients in their own lifecycles, giving them answers to questions, solutions to problems and suggestions for how to create the best possible experience along the way.
A New Approach to Call Center Evaluation Requires a New Approach to CRM
One of the major issues that most businesses run into in terms of CRM is that they rely on an off-the-shelf solution that, again, assumes that all businesses are created equally. The problem with this is that it’s a solution literally incapable of providing you the answers to essential questions like:
What, specifically, is my customer trying to tell me?
What are the issues that are ultimately impacting my revenue?
What are we doing that works and, more importantly, what are we don’t that doesn’t?
What can we do better? Where are the genuine opportunities for improvement that we should be taking advantage of?
At Goodbay Technologies, we don’t just have the type of tools and methodologies that can help you collect this data. Our people at all levels are empowered to give you feedback and make meaningful suggestions based on it. All off-the-shelf CRM solutions have a fundamental reporting and analytics gap to this extent. You can’t glean valuable information from the thousands of emails that you’re getting, for example. You know how many of your survey responses are positive and negative, but you can’t go deeper than that. You can’t dive beneath the data and uncover the narrative that is really unfolding in front of you.
With the right solution and the right partner by your side, however, you can. Take your Fundamental Ticket Workflow, for example. When you partner with a company like Goodbay Technologies, we set up a workflow that is custom built with your people, their processes and their goals in mind. Together, we go through and create an organic process in total congruence with all of your most important business policies. We then set up programming and custom setups to support those ideas in the long-term.
On a weekly basis, we’ll tell you what people are calling about. We’ll tell you what they like and what they don’t like. You’ll have more detailed feedback than ever before, all so that you can go back and address client problem topics in the most sophisticated way possible.
In other words, you’re taking a much more proactive approach to support than ever before. Instead of reacting to issues as they’re happening, you’re fixing small problems now before they have a chance to become much bigger ones later. You essentially have a productive Q&A approach to get an immediate description of the problem, allowing you to address the cause, not the symptom.
None of this is possible without a consulting and data analytics approach to call center evaluation.
The Power of Customized CRM Reporting
This approach pays dividends in other ways, too – like by way of the customized CRM reporting that your organization will now have access to.
Instead of cookie cutter, overly general “reports” that do little more than provide you with a cursory glance at what is going on, you get insightful information that enables you to make your products and services better. Instead of just tracking productivity, you can make sure all those efforts are actually focused on the things that matter the most.
Oftentimes, this will require the building of tools for data capture OUTSIDE of the CRM in an effort to augment trends analysis and insights. Again – this is about not just creating and capturing data. It’s about making sure that data is available to all of the most important people who are making all of the most important decisions moving forward.
At Goodbay Technologies, for just one example, we have the types of reporting templates and APIs you need to make all of this possible. In addition to basic metrics you get access to weekly productivity reports that you can use to go into the data, extract insight from it and use it to support and empower whatever your own unique goals happen to be.
You can see how your partner is doing versus your own in-house staff – those support tickets can finally be segregated in a valuable way. You can look at CSAT scores for days, months and even years for whatever value of customer you are supporting. Finally, you can have the type of intelligent discussion you need to support your intelligent approach to customer service – and the importance of this cannot be overstated enough.
This approach can even help automate certain elements of your call center in the future by way of macro, template and help center content creation. Now, you don’t have to author every single response that you send out to a customer. You can create a custom macro that supports the customer while you work on fixing the underlying issue. Your agents don’t have to type the same thing 500 times in a given week. A perfect response can go out automatically if they haven’t replied. You write the content, document it and put it on the CRM – the solution takes care of the rest.
SLAs, KPI Benchmarking and More
Another area that this new mindset has a positive effect on in terms of evaluating a call center comes by way of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and KPI (Key Performance Indicator) benchmarking.
Your SLA is more than just a document outlining a commitment between your business and your clients. It’s a promise that you’re making, and one that you cannot afford to break at any cost. Every decision you make should be one ultimately dictated by the answer to the question “are we living up to that important promise?” and KPIs are how you do that. KPIs are what lend themselves to and inform your SLA.
A consulting and data analytics approach to evaluating your call center clues you in on the best SLAs and KPIs to benchmark for improvement. With SLA and KPI reporting, you have access to an essentially real-time stream of data that you can use to see what is working and what isn’t as it happens. Almost immediately, this confirms whether or not you’re headed in the right direction and it again provides you with the type of actionable intelligence you can use to make the right decisions at exactly the right moments.
The “one size fits all” approach to call center evaluation just isn’t going to be able to get you there.
The Advantage of CSAT Surveys
No discussion of KPIs would be complete, however, without diving into the topic of CSAT – or Customer Satisfaction Score – surveys.
Essentially, this is the most important KPI of all – the one that takes everything in context and tells you just how happy your customers really are. In general terms, this is perhaps the best way to measure whether or not the customer experience you’re offering actually meets (or hopefully exceeds) the expectations of the people you’ve dedicated yourself to serving.
Thanks to a consulting and data analytics mindset, you can aggregate and present CSAT data to meaningfully drive decision-making. Again, this is less about the number itself and is more about the story lurking just beneath the surface.
This point of view puts you in an excellent position to leverage techniques like A/B testing to improve CSAT scores across the board. You can now test what your average customers will positively respond to before you roll that decision out to the widest possible audience.
Say you wanted to dive deeper into efficiency and its impact on your Customer Satisfaction Scores. In that case, you would look at the average number of replies it took to adequately resolve a case. If these CSAT surveys revealed that there were too many back and forth conversations going on, you would now know that you need to re-analyze these and other business processes that are ultimately inefficient.
With this mindset, everything that you do is able to be reported on. You can see it all, down to the tonality your customers and agents are using when they respond to one another. There is literally no other single piece of software in the world that has this level of reporting. Many are only concerned about status, calls and ultimately “superficial” qualities of that nature. Not that these aren’t important, but to double down on that superior experience you’re offering to customers – and to cement your own competitive advantage – you truly do need to be able to go deeper than that. Not only does Goodbay Technologies help meet the needs created by these limitations in other solutions, but if something is needed that isn’t present we create our own tools to get the job done. Building tools for better data capture is a large part of why we do what we do in the first place.
In the end, you’re left with more than just a way to use CSAT insights to drive policy making and create a competitive advantage. You’re in a position to make your products and services better than they’ve ever been at any point up until now.
From Theory to Execution: Real World Results
For years, Goodbay Technologies has been practicing all of these ideas and more as we forge valuable relationships with our own clients. Our past work has proven that not only does this consulting and data analytics approach to evaluating a call center matter – it’s every bit as effective as you would hope it to be.
One of the clients we work with is in the entertainment industry, offering a cross-platform game that is played by countless people around the world. Recently, they came to us in an effort to take a more data and analytics-based approach to their customer relationships. They wanted to take advantage of custom reporting to find out which issues mattered most to their players in an effort to improve long-term retention. They needed to find out what wasn’t working, in essence, in an attempt to fix the underlying issues that were ultimately harming that valuable customer experience.
Through custom reporting we were able to begin charting their top ticket inflow in a way that was easy to compare from one week to the next. We were able to break everything down to a granular level – from the total number of bans to reports of cheaters to crashes and launch issues, general errors and more. From one week to the next, for example, we quickly uncovered that there was a 30% increase in tickets for one particular type of error brought on by a recent update. The client was able to quickly address the issue and roll out fixes using the insight we provided them.
None of this would have been possible without custom reporting, and none of that would have been possible without this new data-driven mindset for their help desk.
Goodbay Technologies has also applied all of these principles in terms of work we’ve done with another client in a consulting capacity, too. In the gaming industry, every single game needs to have its own unique “it factor” – that is, that special hook that drives both the highest level of customer satisfaction and that results in players who stay, come back for more and are willing to pay more to add to the experience. In essence, it requires you to identify exactly what players want you to do and, more importantly, how they want you to do it.
For one client in particular, we were able to uniquely identify this “it factor” through rigorous A/B testing over a specific period of time. Once singled out, we were then in a better position to coach and train agents to make sure that these elements were enforced by ALL QA efforts in every response that was being sent. This consultation also allowed for Goodbay to use QA scores and reports to identify agents who required additional training and one-on-one coaching, thus cementing these gains across the board.
If You’re Ready to Get Started, Contact Us Today
By now, it should be clear that a consulting mindset and data analytics are no longer recommendations for properly evaluating a call center – they’re a requirement in every sense of the term. When positioned properly, your call center should be more than just an outward-facing, customer-centric arm of your operations. It should generate value, empower innovation and create loyal advocates out of your users – all at the exact same time.
The only way to get to this point is with the right approach, and the only way to take advantage of the right approach is with the right partner by your side.
So if all of this sounds interesting to you, that’s terrific – you’ve just taken your critical first step into a larger and more fulfilling world for everyone involved.
If you’d like to find out more information about why consulting and data analytics are your two most powerful weapons when it comes to evaluating and empowering your call center, or if you’d just like to sit down and discuss your own situation with someone in a little more detail, please don’t delay – contact us today.
Although managed services growth is steady, as customer support outsourcing matures, the prevalence for working with the lowest cost customer support provider is diminishing. Developing a strategic partnership with your outsourced customer service provider is key, as there is truth in the old adage – you get what you pay for.
Today’s customers are sharp and can recognize when your company’s outsourced customer service provider is not the top of the line. In the long run, cheaper customer support is never better, as this leads to low CSAT, negative online reviews, loss of revenue and erosion of your brand. It is important to know what you are getting when you outsource. Smart companies have learned the hard way, hearing about and seeing companies that have outsourced to inexpensive providers, only to realize they were not effective. As a result, they may have to bring that function back in-house.
Finding the right outsourced customer service provider
Companies who find themselves in the position of having to bring functions in-house now look to premium customer support providers that deliver intelligent customer support at scale. This need has caused a resurgence in the outsourced customer support space. A premium customer support partner will save on support staff, while delivering high quality.
Does this benefit the company? Absolutely. This strategy has a positive impact on the bottom line, in addition to gaining satisfied customers. Companies who get the most out of their premium provider can improve their customer experience and customer journey without incurring the costs of having an in-house model. .
Customer support companies offer consulting, and a perspective on how successful companies provide the best customer service, which cannot be achieved just using in-house employees. Around the clock support is easily achieved with a customer service provider, and is no longer an expensive option for those operations who need to manage manpower at different hours of the day or night.
Effectiveness of an outsourced customer service provider
An outsourced customers service provider is effective in a number of ways:
In-house customer service employees can make a company lose productivity and coverage if an employee misses work. With a customer service provider, the organization receives redundant staffing. By using the outsourced model, the company will always have coverage that they pay for, instead of affecting your bottom line.
Advanced reporting & analytics
Customer support partners provide advanced reporting & analytics to help companies gain more insight into their customers. The data they provide creates opportunities to make better strategic decisions, stronger marketing campaigns, and enhanced profitability. When in-house, the company has one specific way to handle reporting and evaluate customer service data. An outsourced provider has experience in providing information through a number of sources to add value and insight.
HR, staffing and scaling is easy with an outsourced customer service provider. The company can focus on internal functions while the service provider handles resumes, interviews, and talent acquisition. They help by taking full control of the talent management process, including onboarding, training, and process management.
This is advantageous for an organization, especially during the holiday season. While most companies have a period of downtime, an outsourced customer support provider allows you to scale up during these periods to meet the needs of the company any time of year. There is no need for temporary workers or additional overhead costs.
An outsourced customer service provider serves as an additional layer of management. Your in-house CS management team can work with them to implement changes and try new customer support strategies. While the provider is known to provide top-notch customer service solutions, you also get world-class management where you need it the most.
Taking a closer look
A great example of a premium customer support provider that has worked with companies who initially used the more inexpensive route is Goodbay Technologies. We are effective at engaging and working with companies who have encountered unfortunate situations and were considering bringing their customer service functions back in-house. Companies have found Goodbay more than capable of handling support and customer service the right way. These client testimonials demonstrate what can be done with the right customer support partner:
“After interviewing many firms, I realized that Goodbay was run very differently than other offshore outsourcing companies. After meeting with your team, I got the sense that our customers and critical business process would be treated with the utmost care, which is why I moved forward.”
– CEO of Diversified Consumer Electronics Company
“We selected Goodbay as a service provider because they have a specialization in mobile first customer support and were already in tune with our business needs. This made onboarding, transitioning, piloting and partnering for the long term easy. We would only consider outsourcing customer support permanently if it was on par or better than what we’ve been doing in-house.”
–SVP Operations – Mobile AdTech Company
This demonstrates that companies can get premium support while controlling their costs at the same time by using an outsourced customer service provider. This increases productivity, efficiency and effectiveness to generate revenue. A model that consistently evolves, employing a provider that meets your needs can truly make the difference.
At Goodbay Technologies, we always strive to go above and beyond the call of duties when it comes to our outsourced customer support services. You need more than just someone to answer customer questions and address customer concerns. You need champions of the larger customer experience and you need them right away.
By acting as a provider of Customer Experience Consulting, we believe that this puts us in an ideal position to do more than just streamline and optimize the operations of your call center. We want to not only improve the overall level of support you’re able to offer, but we also want to provide you with valuable data, analytics and insight into your business that will uncover genuine opportunities for improvements that may have otherwise went undiscovered.
We don’t just want to help you. We want to empower you and help drive your brand forward. We do this in two distinct ways, both of which are worth exploring.
One Part Call Center…
Above all else, our mission is to provide more than just warm bodies to answer call center tickets. At Goodbay Technologies, we pride ourselves on our ability to bring you thoughtful, intelligent and empathetic problem solvers – the right people for the right challenge at precisely the right moment. But even going beyond that, we empower them to deliver only the highest levels of support and assistance in a wide range of different ways that are certainly worth exploring.
All of our agents are trained to not simply “follow the script” like so many other services providers. They’re not “bouncing ball” type agents, desperately looking for “whatever the customer wants to hear to get them off the phone” in the moment. They’re genuine product experts in every sense of the term. They’re brand ambassadors who know your products, who use them and who love them every bit as much as you do. This alone helps to create a much more fluid and natural engagement with your customers, regardless of the channel of support they choose to use.
Every one of our agents is trained to thoughtfully engage with customers through all of the traditional channels that are important to you, including but not limited to things like phone, email and even live chat functionality on your website. Additionally, they’re also able to provide a superior level of support to your customers through non-traditional channels as well. These can include things like social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, retail sites like your e-commerce storefront, and even through app stores on all of the popular smartphones and other mobile devices that are available today.
But a team is only as strong as its captain, which is why it’s so important to us to guarantee that our agents are always managed by some of the smartest, most experienced and most professional people operating anywhere in the outsourced customer support space today. Our agents are managed by true thought leaders who are not only up-to-date on all of the latest industry tips, tricks and best practices, but who can also see where customer support is headed before it gets there.
At Goodbay Technologies, it is our belief that this delivers far more value to our own clients than “routine” outsourced customer support ever could.
But the story of our relationship with your brand doesn’t end there. Far from it. In many ways, it’s just getting started.
… One Part Management Consultant
The fact of the matter is that any outsourced call center can provide “support” in the most basic definition of the term. However, not many of those “routine” providers are positioned to work with clients to truly innovate their support, their products and their services.
To put it another way, we don’t just want to keep your customers happy by providing them with the satisfying experience they’ve come to expect. We want to create something they’ll truly be unable to find anywhere else – the type of experience they ever knew they needed but will soon wonder how they were ever able to live without.
To get to that point, we go far beyond the standard call center tactic of reporting how many calls are answered and what types of resolutions you’re seeing. Using sophisticated analytics and state-of-the-art technology, we dive deep into the factors that are creating these calls in the first place. At that point, this puts us in an invaluable position to work with our clients to help reduce contacts in any way possible.
From the point of view of your customers, what is more ideal: a satisfying customer support experience, or a product and service that works so well that you never need to contact support in the first place? We believe it’s the latter, and that’s exactly what we want to help your business achieve.
From our inception, we’ve positioned ourselves to share our experience, our insight and our best practices with our clients – helping them to improve their own customer experience along the way. We don’t just want to provide you with the data. We want to uncover the actionable, meaningful insight contained inside – putting it all at your fingertips so that you can always make the best decisions possible in any situation.
The changes and ideas that we bring to the table are always backed by this data and by these analytics. When we make suggestions, we’re not just working off a “gut feeling” – we can prove that The Goodbay Way has a rich, material impact on our client’s customer expertise that we are delivering for them. We would never make a suggestion that we couldn’t back up with cold, hard facts at our side.
In the End
Oftentimes, our satisfied clients will tell us that we add far more value to their customer experience than other providers operating in this space. Many say that after partnering with Goodbay, they now have access to a wealth of knowledge and a plethora of new ideas that generate far more advice and insight into customer experience improvement than any other vendor they’ve worked with – or that their own in-house teams could provide, for that matter.
This is an honor, to be sure, but in our opinion it’s also not something that you “do once and forget about.” Getting to this point is one thing – staying at the cutting edge is something else entirely. It requires a proactive, contemplative approach to not only how you’re interacting with your customers and other people in your target audience, but how you continue to interact with them as the world changes around us.
By acting as one part call center and one part management consultant, we find that we’re able to act as a genuine partner in your own organization’s success in the most literal way possible. At that point, we’re not just helping your own in-house people. We’re empowering them to focus more time on the critical aspects of your enterprise, all while putting your best foot forward when it comes to interactions with your customers as well.
If you’d like to find out more information about how Goodbay Technologies is poised to act as one part call center and one part management consultant, or if you’d just like to discuss the specifics of your own situation with someone in a little more detail, please don’t delay – contact us today.