Top 10 SQM Customer Service Blogs
Is there a silver bullet to delivering great call center customer service? Unfortunately, at SQM, we can safely say there is no silver bullet to answer this question. However, call center leaders can enhance their knowledge, skills, and abilities with SQM Group's blogs on the latest research and best practices for delivering great customer service.
SQM call center industry blogs are an excellent way to enhance your thinking and inform you about new call center research, tips, and best practices for delivering superior customer service. SQM blogs are based on benchmarking and tracking customer service performance with over 500 leading North American call centers.
Furthermore, SQM blogs will answer your questions about what people, processes, and technology the highest customer service performing call centers use to deliver great customer service. We recognize that there are a lot of blogs available to read in the marketplace, so to save you time, we have put together our top 10 customer service blogs for you to read.
SQM is considered the best source for call center blogs on First Call Resolution (FCR), customer service and employee experience research, and proven best practices for improving FCR, Customer Satisfaction (Csat), NPS, and cost. At SQM, we have over 70% of our call center clients improve their FCR and Csat year over year using the best practices described in this blog.
1. First Call Resolution Comprehensive Guide
Most call centers' primary goal is to deliver great customer service at the lowest cost. This First Call Resolution (FCR) blog is a comprehensive guide for defining, measuring, tracking, benchmarking, and improving FCR to deliver great call center customer service at the lowest cost.
The FCR guide was developed based on SQM Group's over 25 years of measuring, benchmarking, and improving FCR with leading North American call centers. SQM is considered the thought leader and the gold standard for the call center industry to measure and improve FCR. In addition, SQM is the research firm that invented VoC FCR and brought it to the marketplace. This call center FCR comprehensive guide will answer the following primary (5) First Call Resolution and related questions.
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2. Customer Satisfaction Comprehensive Guide
This customer satisfaction (Csat) blog is a comprehensive guide for defining, measuring, tracking, benchmarking, and improving customer satisfaction to deliver great call center customer service. There is a strong business case for a call center to strive to improve or deliver great customer service. However, accurately understanding that a call center has improved or provided great customer service requires measuring customer satisfaction using a post-call survey method.
Determining customer service can be challenging without measuring Csat. After all, letting the customer judge their customer service is the most accurate way to assess Csat. It sounds simple to let the customer be the judge for the service they experienced and use the feedback to improve; however, it is difficult for many call center managers to let the customer be the judge. This call center Csat guide will answer the following five customer satisfaction and related questions.
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3. Agent VoC Performance Management is the Number One Best Practice for Improving FCR and CX
This blog shares SQM's research showing that call centers implementing an agent (VoC) Performance Management system have improved their FCR and Csat performance by as much as 10%. Moreover, this FCR improvement can occur in 30 days or less, even in large call centers. Also, for the average call center SQM benchmarks, a 1% improvement in FCR equals $286,000 in annual operational savings.
Furthermore, implementing a VoC Performance Management System has been one of the quickest ways to improve FCR and has significantly increased FCR performance. It has also been the most consistent best practice for improving FCR. Moreover, the agent VoC Performance Management System uses VoC metrics such as FCR, call resolution, and Csat based on post-call survey data for creating agent accountability, performance reporting, improvement plans, annual performance appraisals, and compensation pay.
4. Is the Call Center WFH Model Here to Stay After COVID-19?
This blog focuses on whether or not the current agent Work From Home (WFH) high percentage is here to stay. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, most SQM call center clients decided to have their agent and support staff WFH. Furthermore, our 2021 call center employee research shows that 87% of agents are currently working from home. Conversely, in 2019, 19% of agents worked from home. As most call center practitioners know, it was a sudden and drastic shift to a WFH model.
The call center WFH model could be viewed as a business disruption with many benefits and challenging factors to consider. The factors can differ by industry, line of business, culture, geography, technology, security risk, and telecommunication infrastructure. For example, if the telecommunication bandwidth is low for many agents, it will negatively impact their productivity and operating costs.
5. Top 10 Customer Satisfaction Skills That Agents Must Have
This blog shares the agent Csat skills essential for delivering great CX. Based on SQM Group conducting over 10 million surveys with customers who used an inbound customer service call center, we have determined the Top 10 Customer Satisfaction Skills that agents must have to deliver great CX. For example, this blog examines the necessary top 10 Csat skills for call handling behavior standards and word choices or phrases that agents need to use to succeed.
SQM Group's research shows that 93% of customers using a call center expect to resolve their call reason on the first interaction. However, whenever a customer calls back to resolve a call (e.g., billing, claim, technical, order, and service) that was not resolved in the first interaction, 40% of them felt the agent could have done more to help them resolve the reason for their call. Most alarming is that Csat top box response drops 15% for every call a customer has to make to resolve the same call that was not resolved on the first interaction.
6. What makes CQA More Effective than Traditional QA for Improving FCR and Csat?
This blog shares insight on what makes Customer Quality Assurance (CQA) more effective than traditional QA for improving FCR and Csat. With traditional QA, a supervisor or QA evaluator listens to the calls and evaluates the customer's experience. However, regardless of the metrics used or the person who conducts the QA evaluation, what remains clear is that a call center employee is judging the customer's experience in resolving an inquiry or problem, not the customer.
Conversely, CQA combines call compliance metrics, judged by a QA evaluator, and service quality metrics, judged by a customer via a post-call or email customer survey. CQA is based on letting the customer be the judge of their experience when contacting an organization and is one of the best practices for driving improvements in the FCR rate and customer service. The most effective CQA program for the call center is a two-part process that blends external VoC evaluation with internal call evaluations. First, each agent receives a CQA evaluation report consisting of the customer survey and the call compliance results for the same call.
7. The Power of Using Standard Operating Procedures to Deliver Great Customer Service
This blog shares insight into the power of using Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to deliver great customer service. An SOP is a set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help workers carry out routine operations. SOPs aim to achieve efficiency, quality output, and performance uniformity while reducing miscommunication and failure to comply with industry regulations. Many call centers use SOPs to help them deliver FCR and provide great customer service.
Usually, call center SOP practices are specific to their operation and describe the activities needed to complete a task according to an organization's standards for handling specific inquiries and problems. It has been SQM's experience that most call centers have used SOP practices to varying degrees for a long time. However, call centers performing at high FCR and Csat levels tend to be effective at SOP call handling practices for all their core call types and lines of business. In addition, SQM has many clients who have improved their FCR and Csat performance by improving their existing SOP practices.
8. Top 10 Call Center Metrics & KPIs for Measuring Performance
This blog shares insight into the top 10 call center metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring performance. The call center is essential in delivering customer service effectively and efficiently for many organizations. The right call center metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) can help managers stay on track to achieve customer service goals. For example, executives need strategic KPIs to understand performance for the business case to determine resource allocation. In contrast, operational managers need KPIs to make day-to-day decisions about the workforce and customer service delivery.
Most call centers aim to achieve the highest possible quality (e.g., customer service KPIs) at the lowest possible cost (e.g., financial KPIs). Therefore, many would argue that quality and cost are the measures that matter most for any call center. The top 10 call center metrics represent five customer service and five financial KPIs that managers can use to measure performance and present to organizational executives to demonstrate the call center's value.
9. Top 6 Call Handling Best Practices for Improving Call Center CX
This blog shares insight into the top 6 call handling best practices for improving call center CX. Furthermore, call handling is about managing inbound and outbound phone calls that a call center receives and makes. For example, it allows a call center to route incoming calls to the right agent with the necessary call handling skills to resolve the customer's inquiry or problem effectively and efficiently.
FCR performance drives customer service and cost performance. For example, SQM Group's research shows "for every 1% improvement in FCR, there is a 1% improvement in Csat" and you reduce operating cost by 1%." Furthermore, one of the quickest ways to improve FCR is to improve agent call handling practices. Call handling encompasses business practices such as intelligent skill-based routing, first call resolution focus, how calls are handled, concierge service, complaint handling, and agent and customer communication styles.
10. Using Customer Experience Journey Mapping for Improving Any Touchpoint Csat
The essence of customer experience journey mapping is to walk in the customer's shoes as they interact with an organization using single or multiple touchpoints. As such, CX journey mapping focuses on the entire end-to-end journey for using an organization's products and/or services from the customer's perspective. Therefore, using CX journey mapping is an effective technique for improving customer experience using a touchpoint or multiple touchpoints to resolve the same inquiry or problem.
A holistic view of CX is the main advantage of CX journey mapping because it focuses on the customer's entire journey (e.g., brand awareness through to renewing) when using an organization's products and/or services. Focusing on the entire customer journey versus only the individual touchpoint or interaction provides a holistic view of CX that can be very helpful in understanding and improving the customer's experience. The CX journey map insights are the foundation for developing an action plan. In other words, the information garnered from the CX journey map is not an action plan in and of itself. Instead, the action plan needs to be based on the CX journey map insights that show the interaction and touchpoint MoT, which have CX dissatisfaction and/or negative CX emotions.