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Using call centers as a tool for customer education


Call centers are becoming more utilized in the health care field as pressures about patient satisfaction increase. A Spok survey of 400 health care professionals found 62 percent of hospitals have a contact center strategy in place.

Along with the increase in contact centers, the role of these organizations has changed from a communication, “answer-and-transfer” strategy to one of education and organizational change. Well-run health care call centers can play a leading role in educating customers about coverage, plan options and digital initiatives designed to increase efficiencies of self-service.

Not only does using call centers as a tool for education reinforce desired behaviors on behalf of the patients, like using digital options, but it can reduce repeat customer contacts and increase efficiencies overall.

Call centers as a tool for organizational change

The survey found 48 percent of organizations using contact centers define their strategy as an enterprise transformation initiative. In fact, only 12 percent of those surveyed stated their call center was considered a communications initiative. Increasingly, call centers are central to increased efficiencies rather than a sideline tool.

However, this has increased the need for educated agents who are well adept at dealing with varying issues, from appointment setting to potentially life-threatening situations. The expanded role for contact centers requires a different approach with customers. Of the respondents, 64 percentstated new technology solutions have changed their overall strategy since initiating a call center.

Education decreases call center volume

Digital transformations continue to play an important role in contact center initiatives as organizations seek efficiencies. However, calls can increase if customers find digital tools ineffective or confusing. One effective contact center strategy is having agents educate their customers. This is now a widespread solution.

Training agents to educate customers can decrease call volume and push digital efficiencies further by reinforcing digital use. Taking time on the initial call can reduce the likelihood of that customer calling again since they have been educated on how to use the digital tool, all while increasing patient satisfaction.

In fact, one health care firm trained its call center personnel to educate customers and follow up with online tutorials via email after each live call. The call center experienced a 36 percent reduction in that specific call type within six months.

Traditional metrics can be harmful

Setting up call centers as a tool for education can increase efficiencies and decrease overall call volume, but in order to be effective, certain standby metrics need to be evaluated. Of the nine key call center metrics to watch, average talk time is a goal that can become counterproductive.

Educating patients on how to use online or digital tools increases initial talk time as agents work customers through the digital system. However, a well-trained agent who can educate a patient on how to help themselves will pay off long-term.

The patient will be less likely to call back for similar questions and will be less likely to call with complaints, freeing the contact center to focus on more productive responsibilities.

Using call centers as a tool for education can increase the success of digital initiatives, improve efficiencies and increase overall customer satisfaction. Call us today so we can help you build a well-trained and run call center for your health care organization.

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Why You Should Prioritize Corporate Wellness in a Call Center Business

Employee wellness is something that businesses are right to take seriously, especially call centers. Thankfully, the idea of corporate or workplace wellness is something that both companies and employees seem to be focused on this year, as evident by this Workforce report. If you’ve been regularly online recently, you’ll know that wellness has become one of those corporate topics that have been contested a lot in recent years. Some think it’s essential to good business, others think that it’s just a sham for “wellness advocates” looking to make a quick buck out of corporate organizations that are concerned about employee welfare. However, no matter which side of the debate you’re on, there’s no arguing the fact that those happy employees can and will help drive the company forward, particularly in stressful jobs like working in a call center.

Employee wellness is important in any career, but in call centers and other highly mentally and physically demanding environments, wellness should definitely be treated as a long-term investment. And the attendees at the MBGH forum are not alone in this thinking. Maryville University explains that there is a need for more research into psychology, especially on the “correlations between business objectives and employee behavior.” It may sound like common sense to us, but for managers and employees who are faced with balancing their health and career in highly taxing jobs (on a daily basis), these perspectives can be used to draw important, practical, and business-savvy lessons.

There’s a reason why call centers are sometimes referred to as “electronic sweatshops” while its employees often get called “digital slaves.” At best, its eight hours per day or rote work, solving mental puzzles in the form of dealing with all types of customers, including irate ones that tend to vent their frustrations on the person on the other end of the line. It’s a combination of mental and social skills, held in place by physical and mental endurance. Taxing at all levels, it’s no wonder Fast Company reveals that the average turnover rate for call centers is a high 33% – and an even higher 70% for call centers with upwards of 1000 working agents.

Pursuing the path of true employee wellness entails various elements. Here on Call Center Optimization Group we can tell you that this is impossible without good leadership, an essential part of which is actually caring about the welfare of team members. Apart from the willingness to promote employee wellness, there are other long-term strategies that can help call centers to actually ensure that wellness is a priority in the workplace.

For instance, a company called Tenacity is focusing on facilitating collaborations and promoting habits that can help employees to avoid burning out. Forbes got in touch with Tenacity CEO Ron Davis to probe their methods of promoting wellness in this traditionally stressful work environment. In a nutshell, their approach involves leveraging the technology that’s already widely available in call centers and using them to form scalable strategies focused on employee wellness. This includes an app for guided deep breathing exercises as well as encouraging at least moderate exercise in employees. It may sound over-simplistic, but in Tenacity’s pilot program for a $30 billion telecom company, it only took three months for these methods to reduce turnover by two-thirds. Considering what is considered the normal turnover for call centers, the program is highly promising in terms of promoting call center employee wellness.

By improving the lives of its stressed employees, call centers can also expect to improve the way they do business. Employee wellness is more than just a fad. As the evidence shows, it’s essential to good business.

Feature solely written for callcenterpower.com

by Sandra Grey

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When In Doubt, consult: The Role of Call Center Consulting

Every organization faces the challenge of how to complete work and projects with the staff currently on hand. In many instances, organizations do not have the money to hire additional employees, or hiring a new person is not a sound decision when your team does not anticipate a long-term need for the position.

In such a conundrum, there is no easy answer. How can your organization create and maintain a lean budget that allows for growth and higher profits? The answer is simple: outsource. Rather than waste time and energy, look into contracting a call center consulting group.

These agencies are vetted, have highly trained staff and can provide references for previous work completed. Such a solution would allow you to hire additional staff as needed and maintain a positive employer brand.

Employees would appreciate the support and, in some opportunities, the consulting work may provide training for your permanent staff and increase the overall customer experience.

What Call Center Consulting Covers

The services provided are broad, ranging from support for a small office to expert solutions for Fortune 500 companies. At Call Center Optimization Group (CCOG), we can meet every need an organization may have. The overarching goal is to create a working partnership with each business that is unique to their needs.

We have a highly trained and diverse team of advisors who can easily identify and understand your requirements, creating a package to meet your business needs while remaining within budget.

A few key services include project management and implementation, performance improvement, training and development, workforce and capacity planning, and technology solutions. Instead of working late nights or increasing the overall workload of your staff, seek help from the experts.

The following services are requested often by organizations:

Performance improvement.

Improving employee performance is key to increasing overall profits. But how do you ensure the biggest bang for your buck and know you are hiring a quality trainer? The coaches and trainers at CCOG have hands-on experience as well as quality training.

The different teams within CCOG work together seamlessly, allowing for trainers and coaches to learn what is needed from the consultants who have worked with your staff. Imagine being able to afford customized training support.

Attrition reduction.

Employees sometimes can be the most unreliable resource in your organization. With the unpredictable human nature, illnesses, deaths or unplanned family needs, employees can be continually entering and exiting the workforce.

This revolving door of employees creates an unstable environment in which work is not completed consistently, or with consistent quality and results. By utilizing CCOG, our team of experts can work alongside your staff, learning their positions and cross-training, to cover the period team members are absent.

Maintaining a constant workflow will increase your revenue, profits, promote your brand and enhance the customer experience.

New project implementation.

Every organization faces the continual dilemma of adapting to the changing needs of its customers and remaining relevant or continuing to provide the same services. Implementing new projects requires additional staff, particularly a project manager. Turning to a call center consultant for temporary staffing solutions can work for your organization.

Process improvement.

Maintaining the highest quality services as well as keeping the current best practices can be challenging. For some organizations, you simply cannot afford to have one person dedicated to researching and identifying the improvements needed.

CCOG has staff dedicated to studying current best practices, reviewing your organization and identifying the needed improvements. CCOG can also provide the training required to implement the identified enhancements.

New call center site implementation.

Adding or starting a new business is overwhelming. No matter how well prepared or trained you are, situations and challenges will arise that call for additional staff or subject matter experts.

CCOG can sidestep these challenges by walking alongside you every step of the way. Imagine having a mentor to guide you through the process.

Training and development.

For any business to stay ahead of the curve, continuous staff training and development are necessary. Instead of looking for quality trainers who will take time to acclimate to your culture, you can work with trainers already familiar with industry standards and your business.

Technology solutions.

Technology is costly and difficult for organizations of any size to fund. Technology also depreciates quickly, becoming a liability. Working with a call center consulting company allows you to access the newest technology without straining your budget or investing in hardware that may be outdated in less than a year.

How call center consulting helps

If you have any doubts about the services a call center can provide, keep reading. Call centers provide the extra staff, knowledge, subject matter experts and technology all organizations need to be successful and profitable without adding additional financial burdens.

Setting industry standards. Working within any industry, you want an assurance that your organization is setting standards or keeping up with standard changes. Working with CCOG ensures you will stay on top of the trends in your industry.

Developing strategies and best practices. For an organization to stay current on best practices, it needs to develop and implement strategies. Trust our experts to integrate plans that will help your organization to grow.

Improving existing workflows. Maintaining a continuous workflow ensures an organization’s success and profits. If employee attrition becomes an issue, or if employees are not adequately trained or even recruited, your customers will notice, and your organization will lose business.

Working with a call center consultant ensures your business will grow in an uncertain market. Our experts can help you identify areas of growth and support you throughout the process without lessening your profits.

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Top 10 Ways to Improve Customer Experience In a Call Center

In today’s market, it can be very difficult to find qualified firms to meet your professional needs. Many organizations choose to hire call centers that employ competent and knowledgeable staff. These also function as consulting companies that can meet more needs than just simply answering or making phone calls.

However, learning how to choose the correct call center organization to meet your expectations can be difficult. It is important you do research to ensure you have selected the best service for you.

Representing your business

Retaining your employer brand and your stellar business image is critical in creating a sustainable and profitable business. Countless businesses have used call centers to deal with client or customer issues. This is a great way to create a leaner business model, increase your profits and ensure client needs are handled by highly trained professionals.

Any organization you hire to help with your business becomes your representative and sets not only the tone, but the overall image as well. In today’s market, a company cannot afford to have a poor image as the customer experience is what defines the bottom line.

Because of this, it becomes critical for the success of your business to choose the right partner whose brand of service delivery aligns with the positive image you want to project.

Creating a positive customer experience

According to an article by Joshua March, superior customer service can result in a positive customer experience. Creating repeat business and customer referrals are direct products of creating a positive customer experience.

With highly competitive markets, personalized service is what sets a business apart. Here are 10 ways to set you apart and the key points to look for when seeking call center services for your company.

Minimize on-hold times during calls

Leaving customers on hold for more than two minutes will create a situation where customers feel you do not want to help them. It could also create anger or anxiety, or worse, mistrust. Look for organizations who have highly trained members of its staff who understand the importance of timely responses.

Create a proper system to manage all calls

Answering calls in the order they are received is always ideal. Allowing a phone to ring for more than three times will again create the image you do not value good customer experience. Rather, look for organizations to partner with that have a professional reputation when it comes managing phone calls.

Ensure calling agents are happy

Attitude is everything. Creating a positive customer experience means having highly trained staff who leave their baggage at the door. This is sometimes hard to achieve in a small business. By choosing a call center who has good reviews and specializes in creating a positive employee experience, you will ensure your clients receive the highest care.

Use a customer experience management tool or develop a program to monitor and analyze customer interaction

Feedback will allow you to identify weak areas and provide you with possible solutions. Also, monitoring or recording customer calls for training purposes do not only highlight areas where your business needs improvement but can also serve to illustrate superior customer interactions, creating positive, real-life examples for training.

Ensuring a positive customer experience ensures your business grows and thrives. A customer’s first point of contact with a business typically involves contact with a staff member. If this first experience is negative, the customer will leave.

A great customer experience is when you take it to the next level. A trained staff member recognizes the stress or agitation in a customer’s voice, and not only do they listen and help, but they also go the extra mile to provide the additional relief.

For example, the staff at a highly trained call center consultant company would not only help an angry customer and resolve the issue, but they would also provide a replacement item overnight and call the following day to ensure the item was received and the customer was happy.

Understand and listen to customers’ needs

Listening and hearing are two very different skills. Most people simply want to be heard. Training your assistants to hear clients will solve most problems immediately. Encourage active listening skills, praise high ratings and prioritize listening.

Use innovative solutions

Innovation is everything, no two problems or customers are the same. Therefore, the solutions should never be the same. Empowering your staff to think outside-the-box will not only encourage your staff to strive for creating the perfect customer experience, but you will also allow problems to be solved at the lowest level possible.

Improve overall call center efficiency

A highly efficient and effective call center will have highly trained assistants who understand the power of a positive client experience. Providing staff with the opportunity to use innovative approaches, as well as solving the problem at the lowest level possible, will highly increase the efficiency.

Develop a customer-centric culture

Customers are your business. Without return customers or happy ones, your business will decline. Therefore, everything about your business needs to focus on and revolve around your customers. This means ensuring all partners, staff and any representation of your business understand the value you place on customers.

Reward engaging customers

Staff who are rewarded for exemplifying the desired characteristics to create a positive customer experience will continue to strive for good work and inspire fellow staff. Do not place time limits on staff, instead encourage your employees to take the time necessary to truly meet your client where they are and to provide the service they have come to expect.

Engage through social media

Social media can make or break a business. Ensure your business is present and engaging, find a business to help you properly manage your social media sites. Ask for data from the social media posts. Learn what posts are popular and the best times to post them. Then work with an organization who can help in management.

Customer satisfaction is central. Many businesses simply do not have the staff to provide the highly trained customer experience needed to take their business to the next level. Utilizing the services of highly trained staff through call center consultants will give you the edge you need to ensure positive customer experiences.

Let us help you improve your customer experience

Contact our team at Call Center Optimization Group. We can help you make informed decisions and find services best suited for your company needs.

We will find the right solution to best assist your business sothat you can deliver the best in customer service and satisfaction.

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Call Center Culture Starts from Within

Today, customers are far too intelligent and frugal with their time to be speaking to call center employees who lack knowledge and excitement in their job, due to a poor call center culture.

A call center with a culture lacking in personality, inspiration or simply human touch is no call center at all.

There is a reason the greatest brands in the world have the most loyal customers, it is because that love starts within the company.

One of our clients put her supervisors into our Culture Development and Coaching Contact Series program and saved thousands. She saved thousands because our knowledge-based roadmap guided her supervisors on how to inspire, lead and coach their employees to enjoy the work they do. This and more is what a call center culture emcompasses. 

Inspired employees are much more likely to do an outstanding job than a regular employee, and that has a HUGE impact on the performance of your call center organization.

If results keep you up at night, don’t worry, our platform allows senior leadership to log onto our Coaching Learning Management System and see the whole process from start to finish with a clear line of sight to ensure the culture you want is being created.

Besides having a great call center culture that inspires your employees, you will also need all the technology at your disposal. In call center organizations, it’s of paramount importance, to establish systems that will not only allow your teams to be accountable, and take ownership of every interaction with the customer, but will also streamline the efficiency of your customer service. You have to be aware that…

Technology is Moving Fast, and People are Moving Faster

With Customer Tech at CCOG, we put customer service back in the hands of the customer. We give your customers better control over their customer service by improving your front-end Interactive Voice Response platform.

We also have had great success with online customer web portals, diverting calls and streamlining the efficiency of your customer service, with professionals standing by to help customers at the click of a button.

Our clients have loved our technological implementations on our business model because it helped in establishing a deeper customer connection, and developing that customer loyalty that companies strive hard for.

With the help of technology, to significantly improve your customer service efficiency, and a great call center culture in place, you’re well on your way to becoming one of the top customer service companies.

These are just a few of the many benefits we happily bring to all our call center clients.

Quality is King and Call Center Culture Impacts Conversations

When your call center culture is well established, the customers will also be able to identify this, in every single interaction.

You ask: how is this possible?

It’s really simple: A great call center culture inspires employees. Most of us know how important inspiration can be in everyday life.

In the workplace, as one pundit put it, employees react differently when they encounter a wall. Satisfied employees hold a meeting to discuss what to do about walls. Engaged employees begin looking around for ladders to scale the wall. Inspired employees break right through it.

The quality of the conversations your call center employees have, with customers, is such a vital step in how you create a vibrant and conversational contact center that speaks about your brand.

Like our satisfied clients, you need your customers to feel welcomed and warm. We provide services to ensure that.

We can build a fully customized Call Quality Management and Monitoring program, so you can see how and why your employees are giving the best customer service. Our quality service experts are well equipped, and they understand how the Six Sigma approach can heartily improve defect-reduction activities.

Ensuring that your employees are giving your customers the greatest customer service experience as possible is our greatest priority, and with advanced analytics and reports, you can find trends in your call center’s success.

We are Call Center Optimization Group. You Can Call Us CCOG!

We help industry leaders like yourself set the standard for great call center culture and customer service, and drive the quality well past your competitors on your road to success.

Earl Nightingale, an inspiration to business executives for decades, defines success as, “the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”

That’s what we do best: help you realize success, your worthy ideal. If your call center is struggling with a mediocre culture that is palpable to the calling customer, or is working hard on improving the quality of your individual customer service, or even looking to implement technology to help streamline the customer service pipeline, we help with all of that. This is what we do best.

At the Call Center Optimization Group, we have over 25 years of experience helping unique business leaders around the world improve their customer service.

Let us help you realize that worthy ideal today. Give us a call at 1-888-650-5880 or get in touch! We look forward to working with you!