Rediscover your call center’s core competencies

Posted on: October 08th, 2015 by Art Barger

The success of your contact center largely depends on your call center agents. By effectively resolving customer issues, they can save your contact center significant operating costs and provide better customer service that leads to increasing customer satisfaction rates. And we all know happier customers means returning business and sustainable profits.

When you consider what call centers spend each year on security and identity checks, making sure your telephone agents are focused on the task at hand is vital to your call center success.

According to ContactBabel’s 2014 Contact Center Decision-Maker’s Guide, call centers spend over $10 billion a year on agent-handled security and identification checking, which, on average, takes 28 seconds to screen customers over the telephone.

To determine if your contact center agents are working efficiently, we must first examine their primary focus. At the highest level, we know a phone agent’s main responsibility is to handle inbound calls. But that only scratches the surface. Let’s dive a little deeper into some areas that are important for creating higher levels of customer satisfaction.

  • Interpersonal skills: First, call center agents need to have good interpersonal skills. A friendly, knowledgeable agent has the ability to connect and build a strong rapport with every customer they come in contact with. These skills can help strengthen the profitable business-customer relationship.
  • Understanding customer issues: Second, understanding your customers’ many inquiries and problems is critical to providing the confidence your brand needs to meet increasing customer demands. Lacking knowledge of company products and services can quickly turn confident customers into untrusting, skeptical ones.
  • Knowing call center systems, policies and procedures: Third, knowing all customer service policies and procedures, as well as the telephone and computer systems, helps your agents better navigate through the contact center environment. This prevents delays in resolving issues that can frustrate callers, leading to unsatisfying experiences.
  • Automate authentication processes: Finally, sensitive customer data should not be the main credentials your call center relies on to validate your customers. Today, knowledge-based authentication (KBA) solutions that require agents to ask a bunch of challenge questions are non-predictive and waste both your agents and customers’ time. These methods have to be replaced by more innovative, automated caller authentication tools.

While caller authentication is a key component for any call center, it doesn’t have to be one of the top skills or qualifications for telephone agents. Many contact centers continue to train agents in KBA scripts to identify customers on the telephone. Agent-handled security and identification checks may have been one of the essential duties of telephone reps in the past, but today it’s costly, unreliable and negatively impacts your overall customer experience.

Why put your valid customers through unnecessary telephone interrogations when advanced, real-time automated caller authentication services can do it faster and with more accuracy, without impacting your operating budgets?

Implementing automated authentication tools like the TRUSTID® Physical Caller Authentication that validate customers before the call is picked up removes the extra 28 seconds or so it takes to screen customers over the phone. This can save businesses  labor costs from conducting telephone interrogations, as well as the many hours it takes to train each agent. Over time, this can add up to tens of thousands of dollars that would otherwise take away from your business profits, not to mention your ability to keep your customers happy.

Call center agents should be focused on serving your customers’ needs and doing it in a way that exceeds their expectations. Automating the caller identification process not only saves valuable time and money, but it helps call center agents get back to their core competencies — which is providing better customer service over the telephone channel.