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Introduction to Call Centers

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1 Introduction to Call Centers
Call Center Training Introduction to Call Centers WHAT IS A CALL CENTER? Industry term referring to a company phone center that handles such services as help desk, customer support, lead generation, emergency response, telephone answering service, inbound response and outbound telemarketing is a call center. It is a part of an organization that handles inbound/outbound communications with customers. A call center is a central place where customer and other telephone calls are handled by an organization, usually with some amount of computer automation. Typically, a call center has the ability to handle a considerable volume of calls at the same time, to screen calls and forward those to someone qualified to handle them, and to log calls. It is a functional area within an organization or an outsourced separate facility that exists solely to answer inbound or place outbound telephone calls; usually a sophisticated voice operations center that provides a full range of high-volume, inbound or outbound call-handling services.

2 Inbound v.s outbound Outbound Inbound An outbound call center is one in which call center agents make calls to customers on behalf of a business or client. The outbound call centers do telemarketing, debt collection, sales, fund raising and other work that requires proactive contact with customers An inbound call center is one that exclusively or predominately handles inbound calls (calls initiated by the customer) The inbound call centers do Customer Support, Online Help, Bookings, Placing Orders, Resolving issues/queries etc

3 Call center technologies
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol, technology providing voice services over IP connections) Internet (E1, DSL, SDSL DXX etc) Hardware (LAN, Switches, Routers etc) Networking ((LAN & WAN, Different Components of networking) Call center category description Customer Service Telesales Help Desk Collections Call Center Operations E-Commerce Support Cast Telecom/IS Account Management

4 Skills Necessary for a call center agent
Learning Skills Communication Skills Customer Handling Skills Team work and Individual capabilities Telephone Etiquettes and the ability to respond professionally to clients on the telephone The candidate's ability to use proper grammar Vocabulary skills relevant to a call center position Attention to detail and ability to follow specific instructions Basic math, logic, analytical and telephone problem solving skills Ability to follow specific instructions Telephone problem solving skills

5 Call flow management – Do’s and don’ts
On-Hold Messages DO’s… Match your message script to your goals. When all is said and done, make sure the final product actually fits the purpose for which it was designed. This includes an audio scan, as well as measurement of customer behavior changes as a result of the message. Create a variety of messages. Change the message every few weeks. If your customers call more often, be sure to change them more often. Nothing is worse for a frequent caller than hearing the same message call after call.  Keep messages short. This refers to the content rather than the total length. While the entire message tape can be lengthy, each individual message should convey what it needs to in 35 to 40 words. Write scripts in a conversational style. To check this, read them aloud to yourself and others.   Use consistent voicing. The exception to this rule is when you inform customers to expect different voices (e.g., when using a queue jockey or employees’ recordings). Be careful when providing estimated wait times. This can work very well if you’re only feeding one queue to one agent group, but it breaks down with virtual agents or multiple call priorities because calls can “budge” to the front of the queue.  DON’Ts… Ask for identifying information in the wrong place in the menu. For example, if a customer’s phone number will only be used if he or she opts for an automated response; don’t ask for it before the caller selects the IVR. Be predictable. Predictable messages include phrases like: “your call is important to us,” “we are experiencing heavy volume, so there will be a long wait,” “we’re sorry you’re on hold,” as well as endlessly repeating short messages.  Confuse people. Giving complex in­structions or information during hold messages doesn’t usually work. Keep it simple. Make recordings too short. Look at your expected delay statistics, and make the message long enough to cover at least the average delay when there is a delay. This is not the same as the ASA.  Repeat too often. Make sure that your messages have some “breathing time.” In between messages, allow for some silence or play music or some other sound. Keep telling customers to hold or that they are on hold. They already know it, and are likely to be annoyed by such commands. Continued

6 Call flow management – Do’s and don’ts
On-Hold Messages DO’s… Be creative. Messages that get customers to relax and enjoy the wait (i.e., humorous, entertaining, informative messages) can be crafted if you don’t limit your imagination to what you’ve already heard.  Give customers control and information. For instance, allow callers the option to use the IVR, give them information on when you’re likely to be less busy, offer estimated wait times, and allow call-backs or provide virtual queuing (see box above). Use ANI to identify repeat callers who didn’t get through to you, and put them at the front of the queue. Let the customer decide, based on wait time information, how he or she wants the call to proceed. Find out the true cost of using music on hold before deciding on it. It’s not legal to play real tunes without paying a royalty, and the same applies to playing a radio station. Elevator music is only slightly better than silence, and can really annoy some people. Thank people for hanging on. Just doesn’t overuse the thank-you message or it may become irritating. Record emergency messages before you need them. This will save you unnecessary panic and frantic activity during stressful times. Be sure you know what each message says, and how to activate the appropriate one. This should be an intrinsic part of your disaster-recovery plan. DON’Ts… Apologize too much. The real issue here is that you’re not prepared to make the investment that makes the delay so short that you don’t need delay messages — so don’t emphasize this fact. One apology is all that’s needed. Brag too much. Sales messages need to be informational in nature rather than a hard sell. You have a captive audience on hold; you need to treat them gently and persuasively. Lie to customers. If you have messages that say, “due to unusually heavy volume,” or “due to a snowstorm, there’s going to be a long delay,” use them sparingly or, eventually, they will not be believed.  Neglect customers whose preferred language isn’t English. Provide messages that are culturally appropriate, and in the languages of the customers who are likely to call you. Think that you’re in this alone. Messaging services can be an invaluable resource, especially when it comes to finding voice talent and making the final recordings. Use a mass-produced product. Your company is unique, and you need to make sure your customers experience that uniqueness.

7 Call flow management – Do’s and don’ts
Customer service inbound DO’s… Thank them for contacting customer support in the opening sentence of your reply messages. Ask for further clarification if you are unsure of their requirements. Suggest some extra details to answer their query more effectively. Address the support question within 24 hours of receiving their message to avoid unnecessary confrontation and dissatisfaction. Offer further support if they require it and provide a sincere thanks for their custom. Also confirm that their message has been received and when they should expect a response. Be apologetic to their needs and offer complete support and reassurance. However if a customer is still unsatisfied with their order offer them a replacement or refund. DON’Ts… Don't use abrasive words in your . Always remain calm, courteous and professional. Don't leave the problem unresolved or unanswered because you are offended by their tone or for any other reason whatsoever. Don't neglect your customers by repeatedly delaying your response times. This will lead to negative feedback for your company and will inevitably cost you sales and damage your company’s reputation. Don't allow a customer to bully you into doing something irrational or unethical just to please them. Don't lie to a customer about your product. Make sure your description and terms are clear and are easily accessible on your Sales Page, Thank You Page and receipts. Continued

8 Call flow management – Do’s and don’ts
Customer service outbound DO’s… Greeting the customer: Smile, speak clearly; give the customer your undivided attention. Identify yourself and your department, offer help. Note the customer’s name and address the customer by name that creates and attentive impression. Begin the conversation with your customer on a positive note. Listening to the customer: Ignore disruptions, distractions or being too fast or too slow. Concentrate on what the customer is saying to you and acknowledge what he says. Attempt to identify the need and basis of the call. Deliver information more and more. Responding to customer needs: First, provide an empathy statement to address the customer’s psychological needs. Then, with the customer, develop an action plan that directly addresses his needs. Developing an action plan involves informing the customer of the steps that you plan to take, explain any steps he should take. Answer questions, handle objections do not run away from questions. Remember when a customer starts asking questions those are actually BUYING signals. So pay attention and do not deviate from the subject. Check agreement whether the customer has understood and agreed to the proposed solutions. DON’Ts… Do not rush: Do not rush through the call in an attempt to feed the customer as much as possible once he is on the line. Wait up, relax, talk, and do not blabber. Don’t get tense: It’s nothing personal; you are just doing your job. They are just missing out on another good deal. Do not be afraid: They cannot come out of the phone and hit you, relax, listen to their questions and answer them. Do not impersonate: Do not start by saying “if I was you…” Empathize, put yourself in their shoes and think like them. Continued

9 Call flow management – Do’s and don’ts
Customer service outbound DO’s… Getting agreement Seek feedback and agreement from the customer at this point to establish whether he is satisfied with the solution. Concluding the call: Smile and have a positive, friendly attitude; use the customer’s name; review the plan of action; offer further assistance, and thank the customer for his patience and co-operation. Following up as necessary: You might want to follow up particularly urgent requests or such requests that are critical to a large number of users Keep Smiling: Remember, a smile can be heard even on the phone. Relax and enjoy. Determining the customer needs: Listening to the customer pays let the customer talk, don’t interrupt. Paraphrase what the customer has communicated to you, as questions and get feedback. DON’Ts…

10 Effective communication
Effective Listening speaking with confidence Call center communication skills Communication Techniques Questioning Skills Telephone Techniques

11 Phone etiquettes  Avoid using Slangs. Make use of phrases such as "May I help you", "You are welcome", and "Thank you", etc. Put the receiver down gently. Never slam the phone. Always speak clearly so that the other person can understand what you are saying. When picking up the phone, it is good practice to identify your Company and yourself to the caller. When transferring calls, make sure that you are well versed with the procedure for call transfers. It is good practice to use the name of the person you are transferring the call to. Always adopt a pleasant tone of voice and be attentive. When placing a call on hold, inform the caller of the same. Don't interrupt the caller when speaking. When initiating a call, spend a few moments to mentally prepare yourself so that you know wheat need to be said / discussed.

12 Understanding customer services
Customer needs Difficult situations Skills simulation Building customer loyalty Communicate Understand Your Customer's Goals Be Consistent Build Credibility Cracker Jack Surprise

13 Call center telephone sales
Principles and techniques of telephone sales Telemarketing laws

14 42 telesales tips Pre Call Planning Before Reaching the Decision Maker
Interest Creating Opening Statements Effective Questioning Sales Recommendations Getting Commitment (Closing) Addressing Resistance (Objections) Wrapping up and Setting the Next Action Attitude and Self Motivation

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