Phone numbers are the lifelines of businesses in India. Handling your incoming calls efficiently will ensure that customer retention and happiness are high and also increase brand good will.
But what do you do if you’re dealing with limited resources? We have proposed a simple Plan, Execute, Track and Measure methodology for you to manage your Customer Calls like a big company.
1) Define business SLAs:
SLAs (Service Level Agreements) depend on the type of business you’re running. If your business involves a transaction that can be conducted over phone, then you need to define a SLA for your business. It can be how soon you will ship a good that someone bought or how soon you will deliver a service or support a product. A combination of the number of transactions you deliver and your SLA aspirations will help you can arrive at an estimate of the number calls that you might get.
2) Estimate number of calls:
Estimate the number of calls that you might get per day, the average time required to complete a call satisfactorily and the number of people you might be needing to pick up these calls. It’s good to over-estimate and then arrive at the correct number after a two week pilot. Using a business phone system that offers quick insights on the number of calls that you get can help you save costs like Printvenue did.
3) Allocate people:
If you have dedicated support staff, then no worries. If not, take a stock of how many people among your existing staff can attend customer calls and what time of the day those people are available. If you don’t have enough people in organization and don’t plan to hire, take a look at the Agent on Demand service from Exotel which helps you hire people to manage your call center as and when you need them.
4) Research on location & equipment required:
Pick a telecom provider or a cloud telephony provider like Exotel and setup a business phone system. Make sure the folks that attend the incoming calls are in a quiet location with enough power backups, mobile coverage, fast internet and good PCs. Invest in a good headset. Plan for delays with traditional phone system providers for activities feasibility checks, setup and wiring. But, if you opt for a good cloud telephony provider, you don’t have wrestle with equipment or waste time on setup.
Execute the plan
1) Setup processes and etiquettes for people picking up calls:
If you don’t have dedicated support staff, it will pay off to setup some processes for folks who are doubling up on support work as well. Educate them on typical call center best practices and inculcate a customer first attitude. Help your support folks switch themselves off from the list of people who attend calls smartly if they are indisposed.
2) Take control of call wait/queue times:
Irrespective of how meticulous you are with your estimation and planning, sometimes you might end up making your customers wait. Make sure you configure maximum wait times to make sure that they don’t waste their time too much waiting for someone to pick up the call. Send an SMS at the end of the call assuring them that they’re important and that you’ll get back to them ASAP if you missed their calls.
3) Don’t miss customer calls. Call them back if you do:
There’s nothing more infuriating for a customer with business that doesn’t respond to their calls. Make sure you track missed calls religiously and make it a part of your process to call back missed calls ASAP.
4) Let people attend calls from home, be a cool employer:
Let’s face it, attending incoming calls day in and day out can suck the energy out of your support people. Be a cool employer and let folks responsible for incoming calls attend calls from home using a system like Exotel, as your employees can bring in their own devices like their mobile phones or landline numbers.
Track and Measure:
1) Track the efficiency of your agents using reports:
All major cloud telephony providers will have some sort of reporting. Use the call/sms reports to figure out how your support team is doing.
2) Monitor key metrics:
Monitor key metrics about your support calls. Read top 10 key call metrics to monitor based on your incoming call traffic.
3) Use a CRM:
CRMs will help you manage your customers efficiently. Invest in a good CRM or you can use cheap CRM alternatives..
4) Train support folks:
Constant training and support to the support folks in your company is very essential. As a manager, you can do this easily by listening to call recordings and then educating them on the best practices.
5) Consider an IVR
Do let us know in comments if you have any thoughts!