Call centres should change the way they develop staff, claims Hemsley Fraser
Call centres have an opportunity to make a real difference through the way they develop their staff, as the traditional approach to training does not equip people to have the kind of interactions which customers value and find rewarding.
That's according to a new white paper from learning and development firm Hemsley Fraser.
In 'The call centre customer experience: Behaviours that make the difference' ' Hemsley Fraser claims that the current practice, based on conventional approaches to customer service training, often leads to customer conversations which lack any emotional or personal engagement. Training interventions, focusing on generic tips and scripted customer interactions, have to evolve into learning that focuses on the key behaviours needed when dealing with customers, such as creating genuine personal connections, establishing trust and first-time resolution.
Hemsley Fraser's paper provides guidelines on how to design an engaging learning experience that will enable organisations to develop a distinctive and differentiated experience for their customers which, in turn, will deliver business benefits.
"Call centres may have explicit processes and metrics in place but unless key behaviours have been defined and embedded, the customer experience will often be inconsistent because those behaviours will vary from individual to individual," said Wendy Brooks, director of Hemsley Fraser and author of the new paper.
"The behaviour of call centre staff can not only be a major source of differentiation, it can also impact on bottom line business results by creating customer loyalty and advocacy."
To fit in with the pattern and demands of call centre work, Hemsley Fraser argues that a flexible modular learning programme is needed, focusing on key behaviours which can be applied immediately in the workplace.
"To instil the key behaviours that will make a difference, learning needs to be imaginative and compelling, so that people become excited and enthusiastic about what they can do for customers.
"We're all customers and we all know how we'd like to be treated. Call centre teams need to understand that, when they interact with customers, the nuances of their behaviour can make the biggest possible difference."
Hemsley Fraser argues that by investing in learning that develops key behaviours for customers, call centres can also enrich the employee experience.
"You can motivate employees and improve customer satisfaction by equipping people with the skills and the confidence to behave in certain ways with customers. Showing employees that you value them, and how important they are to customers, can enhance their level of engagement and reduce staff turnover," she concluded.