The Well-Run Call Center

By Paul Spiegelman

In order to maximize your efforts to cultivate relationships with your customers, your call center should have the following characteristics in place:

Accessibility: Customers should be able to reach a live person 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Health conditions do not occur at convenient timetables. Some organizations are linking their website to the call center to offer the broadest range of communication options.

Optimum Service Levels: According to industry standards, call centers should answer 80 percent of calls within 30 seconds. Call advisors should demonstrate a commitment to quality service and really helping callers with their issues. Regular “secret shopper” calls help monitor the quality of call interactions.

State-of-the-Art Technology: Up-to-date telecommunications equipment is critical to efficiently handle calls, especially in complex organizations. Customer relationship management software should be customizable and allow call advisors to capture a wealth of information. It should also allow for scripting of cross-sell opportunities and outbound campaigns, as well as generate reports that reflect the return on investment of call center activities. Computerized platforms that integrate CRM software with clinical systems will facilitate the flow of information through all touch points in the organization.

Seamless Interaction: Where the call is being answered should be invisible to the consumer. The “face” of the organization should never be tied to any one department, and call advisors should be well versed in answering a broad range of questions about all facets of the organization’s services, policies, and facilities. Having one toll-free number assures that calls will be handled by call center advisors who know best how to collect valuable data for and build long-term customer relationships.

Paul Spiegelman is CEO for The Beryl Companies.

[From the October/November 2008 issue of AnswerStat magazine]