4 Call Center Best Practices That Will Improve Your CSAT and NPS Scores

by Mindful
 • January 13, 2022
 • 6 min to read
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When you’re talking omnichannel support, call center managers and agents make a big deal out of CSAT and NPS numbers—and for a good reason. These call center metrics are important for dozens of reasons, including measuring future growth or tracking real-time performance for your call center.

Improving your CSAT and NPS numbers is absolutely essential to the success of your call center and its growth. These call center best practices are specifically geared toward growing those all-important scores while still improving the customer’s experience.

Build a customer-first strategy by delivering convenience.

A customer-centric business strategy is defined as a plan that puts your customer at the center of your business strategies and functions, usually by deploying special services (like a callback feature), products, or offers that ultimately benefit the customer in some way, shape, or form. Putting your audience first by giving them more control of their support experience endears your brand to them—a great way to raise customer satisfaction and net promoter scores.

Want to put the customer first and raise your scores?

Start by evaluating what channels you engage customers on and how they get in contact with you. Make it easy for them to contact your team on their preferred channel—whether web, voice, chat, or text.

Next, follow the journey across channels to make sure transitions are smooth and easy. A bumpy transition will not only cause the customer to be angry or to abandon altogether—it will also increase agent handle times when customers spend time venting or repeating their problem.

When the customer feels empowered to receive support on their terms, it centers the whole experience around them. It’s also more convenient for the customer—and convenient experiences are important not just in raising those KPIs but in improving sales as well. A reported 74% of consumers are more likely to buy from your brand based on experiences alone.

Meet your customers on the channels they use the most.

Call center best practices are not about simply leveling with the customer, but delighting them and removing the number of hoops they have to jump through to reach a resolution.

It’s no longer enough to just offer availability across channels (email, SMS, chat, voice). Today’s customers start in one place and want to move channels when the first is no longer convenient. And it’s that transition that tells a customer how valued they are.

Let the customer choose their own help path. Let them choose when they’ll receive a callback, as opposed to forcing them to stay on hold. Offer to reschedule over text if the time no longer works for them or if the callback doesn’t connect, rather than forcing them to dial and reach the IVR again. Reconnect to the customer if the call doesn’t connect the first time.

Driving higher CSAT and NPS scores is all about giving the customer control and making sure they have less work to do. The less friction, the more they’re likely to come back again.

Track and improve upon call center metrics that affect CSAT and NPS.

There are other call center metrics you should track that affect your CSAT and NPS: Average Speed of Answer (ASA), Abandon Rate (AR), First Call Resolution (FCR) rate, and Agent Attrition (AA).

Average Speed of Answer (ASA)

ASA is a number that represents how quickly you can answer a customer’s question. This is a number you want to drive as low as possible if you want to bolster customer satisfaction. It reduces average hold time, a number that 57% of customers report being frustrated by.

Abandonment Rate (AR)

Your abandonment rate is the portion of calls between the agent and the interactive voice response system that are terminated. Effectively, it’s the customer abandoning the call. It’s a metric that’s been climbing since 2019—going from 8.53% to 8.93% mostly as a result of greater call volume, driven largely by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To raise your CSAT and NPS numbers, you want this percentage as low as possible, as it represents a point of customer frustration. Reducing your AR numbers helps expedite the problem-resolution cycle and ensures customers don’t have to call in multiple times.

One way to reduce or optimize queue times is to implement a virtual queue. If all of your service reps are busy on other calls, new callers are sent to a virtual line instead of being put on hold. The virtual queue collects the caller’s phone number and general reason for calling, which is then used by the agent to call the customer back. Virtual queues are a transformative technology that drastically reduces AR numbers by replacing the holding system with a callback, giving the customer their time back, reducing customer effort, and helping agents manage their queues.

We find that abandonment goes down to only 3% for callers who choose a callback (or a virtual queue).

First Contact Resolution (FCR)

One great way to reduce customer effort is to focus on resolving the customer’s problem on their first call (or any type of contact) with your contact center. First contact resolution is inherent to improving customer effort. The sooner the customer gets an answer to their problem, the less effort they need to put in to solve said problem—and the less effort they have to put in, the happier the customer.

Agent Attrition (AA)

Agent attrition refers to turnover rates in your contact center, which are between 30% and 45% globally. The average entry-level agent sticks around at a contact center for about one year, making attrition an expensive problem for many call centers. Attrition is bad not just because training and hiring are expensive, but because it has a direct impact on your CSAT and NPS when agents are unhappy or are inadequately trained.

Since training is table stakes, we find that other factors contribute much more significantly to a happy agent. Removing hold times will provide agents with calmer, less stressed customers, which makes conversations brighter (and more efficient). And delivering context across channels will give agents the precise details they need to delight the customer.

Don’t just engage your customers—engage your agents, too.

Agents need as much engagement, attention, and care as your customers do. So, what does it mean to engage your agents like customers? It means providing the right tools and training that help your agents do their jobs and better meet the needs of your customers.

One way to engage agents? Among higher pay, better benefits, and career advancement, is providing the right software. A whopping 92% of employees say that having the tools to do their job efficiently impacts their work satisfaction. Implementing software that can help agents do their job, like Mindful, is one way to engage your workforce. Mindful can:

  • Schedule service calls for agents well in advance, so agents don’t leave customers hanging and have clear schedules to help guide their daily workflows.
  • Calm irate customers down by drastically reducing (or even eliminating) hold times and increasing FCR rates.
  • Set up customer-first dialing procedures, keeping agents off the phone until a customer is ready to reconnect with them.

Summing up

Customer experience and improving your KPIs are really all about relationships—your customer’s relationship to your product and your brand, and, of course, your relationship to the customer.

And while professional relationships are two-way streets where each party is equally invested in the other’s success, sometimes implementing call center best practices means your brand has to take a leading role in your customer-brand partnership.

You should be the party advocating for an omnichannel support approach or for improving crucial metrics. Your tech should be queueing customers appropriately, and letting them know at each stage where they are in line, and be sure the path is clearly outlined for them.

Be the partner in your relationship that makes support a breeze, and you’ll boost those CSAT and NPS numbers by simply improving your processes.

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