How Long Are Customers Willing to Wait?

With much of the world on lockdown due to the current COVID-19 crisis, contact centers are grappling with both increased workloads and staffing challenges. One helpful framework — now and in more normal times — is to understand the factors that affect customer tolerance for queues. There are seven, and they influence how long customers will wait in queue, how …

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Real-time Management: Level 2 and Beyond

These extraordinary times have impacted our lives in unimaginable ways. They have also impacted customer service in ways we might have never thought possible. For those struggling to manage unexpected volumes of customer contacts, the following real-time management discussion from the latest edition of Contact Center Management on Fast Forward may be helpful. Level 2 and Beyond In omnichannel environments with …

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The Power of One: Every Agent Matters

In these extraordinary times when many of us have had to transition our customer service agents to work at home, it is more important than ever that all agents understand their individual contribution to servicing customers. And that they understand how much they are appreciated. This video shows the impact each person makes on service level, occupancy and average speed …

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Building a Cohesive Virtual Team

Information and communications technologies have created organizations that span geography and time. Multi-site environments, cross-functional teams, and extended-hour or 24/7 operations are common contact center examples. If you are a manager or director, you may have the responsibility of getting results from those who work in different locations, who don’t report to you, or who don’t work the same hours. …

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Removing Barriers to Employee Motivation and Engagement

Incentives, rewards, and other motivational tactics rarely work for long or have limited impact, but you can implement strategies that knock down barriers to great work and significantly improve your customer service. Learn more about demotivators and how to identify and address them in the video “Removing Barriers: Demotivators” from my LinkedIn Learning Course “Customer Service: Motivating Your Team.” Removing …

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Customer Access Strategy as Playbook

Does a customer access strategy sound like something that would be nice to have? Actually, it’s vital. Just ask anyone who’s part of the University of California’s Retirement Administration Service Center (UC RASC). The University of California is the world’s leading public research university system, with ten campuses, five medical centers, three national labs and a network of researchers and …

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Customer Service Strategy: Avoid Common Pitfalls

Herb Kelleher, co-founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines, once said, “We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.” He makes a great point. Developing strategies shouldn’t be an overly academic or formal exercise, with the result being a plan that’s really not put to use. Avoid these five common pitfalls, discussed in my LinkedIn Learning Course “Customer Service …

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The Contact Center’s Role in Building Self-Service

Many organizations are learning firsthand that contact centers play a central role in encouraging and supporting low-cost access channels. For example, the contact center can provide a wealth of information about which contacts can be automated or handled in customer communities, and what can be done to improve customer acceptance of this type of handling. While it may seem paradoxical, …

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Quality Standards: As many as you need, but as few as possible

Can you have too much of a good thing? Well that can certainly be true with quality standards. If you have way too many, your team will become numb to them. My recommendation is to establish as many quality standards as you need, but as few as possible. In one of my recent LinkedIn Learning Courses, “Quality Standards in Customer …

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Time-Tested Tips for Handling Tough Contacts

How equipped are your agents for those situations when something is going wrong? When customers are clearly upset? Here are some time-tested tips: If your organization messed up, acknowledge it in a sincere way—and in plain language. (How often as a customer do you see or hear the scripted words, “We regret any inconvenience this may have caused”?) As writing …

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