3 Tips for Better Customer Service in an Outsourced Contact Center

Jun 14, 2012 12:44 AM  By

There are several qualities that an outsourced contact center must possess to provide outstanding customer service. Among these are the ability to effectively communicate with the client, the skills to integrate new information and the flexibility to readily adapt to changes.
Retailers who depend on an outsourced contact center for their customer care understand this. Agility in a contact center is an invaluable trait – one that can make a dramatic difference in the customer experience.


Adapting quickly
The ability to adapt quickly is essential when working on any account. For many merchants, their needs are very straightforward, but for many others, there are often many moving parts. For instance, a merchant dealing in rare coins, and gold and silver, provides a perfect example of how a contact center with flexibility and agility can handle the rapid changes and complexities. The market for gold, silver and rare coins is a dynamic one, with prices constantly in flux and the most successful coin merchants use real-time pricing. As gold and silver markets rise and fall, contact center agents must adapt their call scripts and processes to the fluidity of pricing.

It’s remarkable how successful a company can be with a contact center that has that adaptability and understanding of the marketplace.

Accommodating frequent changes
When a contact center employees know that frequent changes are likely, there are steps that can be taken to keep things moving smoothly. Here’s how it is handled with a rare coin merchant. To make real-time pricing work, a coin merchant collaborates with the contact center to integrate its custom in-house system that accommodates such frequent changes with the contact center’s system. The integration ensures that a new pricing model appears on a contact center agent’s screen by inputting a specific ad code. For an account that uses multiple shifts of agents, it is essential that agents check an internal Web portal to find the latest pricing and scripts to use.

Contact center managers must work with merchants to customize screens to make the ordering process more efficient for agents and, equally important, the callers. Collaboration on scripts is crucial to make calls more conversational and to streamline the ordering process. It is imperative that agents understand a range of complex information and convey it to customers, while staying abreast of changing scripts and timing for calls. They need to be flexible and show great attention to detail.

A merchant that uses contact centers may not have the frequent price changes and daily real-time issues that a coin dealer has – but if your contact center can handle that, you will have the confidence to know it can likely handle more traditional retailers.

Integrating channels for a unified sales experience
Efficient two-way communication between the merchant and the contact center accelerates the task of integrating the merchant’s custom in-house system with the contact center’s system. Part of that integration can be the capability to pop the screen for agents, while ensuring data they enter goes directly back to merchant to update its system.

For an arrangement like this to work well and provide maximum flexibility, the merchant must be as agile as the contact center—and be able to quickly implement changes to procedures. For example, if a merchant wants to implement a change to product shipping and handling fees associated with specific ads, the systems should enable them, in a matter of hours, to have the new screens ready, make contact center agents aware of the changes, and put the program into effect.

To succeed in today’s multichannel retail environment, merchants need to integrate different systems such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Order Management Systems (OMS), and Case Management. Merchants who seamlessly integrate systems and provide a flexible and well-trained sales team will drive a superior customer experience.

Herman Shooster is founder and president of Global Response.