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Performance Management

Best Practices on using contact center metrics, reports, dashboard and key performance metrics (KPI) to optimize customer service

Customer Retention Hints, Tips & Best Practices

Customer retention is critical to any type of business, and the call center plays a key role in this objective.

Today, call center software solutions such as speech analytics can actually identify the customers likely to become a defection stat, and take steps to return them to the fold. With this edge, along with proper agent training and preparation, it’s possible to keep customer attrition to a minimum. For more tips on customer retention, check out the blogs and articles below.

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Incentivizing Your Contact Center Agents

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“Incentivizing” is something of a buzzword now in business. It refers to ways to acknowledge and reward employees to build a sense of loyalty and encourage outstanding performance. 

If you are thinking of introducing an incentive program to your contact center, here are a few tips that might help. 

1. Clarity

Make sure agents understand the goals you wish them to achieve, and make sure you have an accurate, objective means to measure their performance. Workforce optimization software can play a key role here. 

2. Divide and Inspire

Don’t make your program one-size-fits-all. A new hire should not be incentivized in the same way as a 5-year veteran. Your top performers are already highly motivated – the program should reward them in a way that inspires those just under that top 5% or 10% tier to up their game. Likewise, strive to incentivize “average” agents into stars, and those that are struggling to achieve a more consistent performance. 

3. Offer the Right Rewards

Perhaps you think dinner for two at the neighborhood steakhouse is a great reward, but your vegan agents won’t be inspired. And while everyone appreciates money, it doesn’t have the same tangible impact as a gift. Try this – acknowledge achievement with a point-reward system. Once points are accrued they can be traded in for a reward selection of the agent’s choice. 

4. Recognize Everyone that Improves

Contests can be motivating, but if awards are only bestowed on the top 3 performers in a month, that won’t do much for the agent who also improved his job performance but finished fourth. Make sure everyone who is getting better is sharing in the accolades for doing so. 

5. Keep it Fun

An incentive program should not turn into a cutthroat competition between agents. It should be a unifying program that focuses on celebrating both individual and collective achievement. 

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Call Center Makeover for a Better Customer Experience

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Does your call center need a makeover?

Sometimes, bad habits or lax business practices can slowly and gradually infiltrate even the best of call centers, and the customer experience can suffer as a result. 

When this happens, it’s time to consider a business-wide transformation that will get the contact center back on an efficient track. Such an effort should focus on three specific areas. 

1. Culture
Successful call centers are customer-centric call centers. Is that the mission that informs how agents perform their job, how forecasting and scheduling is achieved, and how priorities are listed when it comes to staffing, budgeting and other business essentials? Putting the customer first can only lead to better performance. 

2. Processes
When was the last time your call center processes were reviewed? Would a few updates or changes to agent scripts result in a faster and better customer experience? Taking a fresh look at how you’re doing business now, and bringing agents, managers, trainers and even customers into this process, may inspire new ideas that can make a positive difference.

3. Technology
Technology should be a primary source for delivering customer interaction insights. Workforce optimization solutions are big part of this. Do you have the right tools and are you utilizing those you have available to their full potential? These include workforce management, call recording, screen recording, quality assurance, desktop analytics and speech analytics. Is it time to upgrade current solutions or add new ones? The better a call center can utilize workforce optimization systems and other processes, the more optimized its service levels. Result? Once again, more satisfied customers.

Want to learn more? Take a moment and watch any of these demos to see if you need to improve your call center technology.

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5 Tips for Offering Great Customer Service

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If you ask most people about the customer service they receive, whether it’s at the bank or the cable company or when they call into a contact center, expect to hear more horror stories than compliments. Sadly, we are now in an age when great customer service is the exception, not the rule.

Take this an opportunity to distinguish your call center and build a loyal customer base by providing a level of service that those over 40 once took for granted, and those under 40 may have never experienced before.  More...

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What Matters Most to Your Customers?

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There’s an old expression about missing the forest for the trees. It simply means that sometimes we look at something so closely, that we miss the bigger picture. Customer service is vulnerable to this in any industry, including call centers. Our attempts to micromanage minutiae can sometimes distract from the larger and more significant aspects of the customer experience. 

As this ICMI article observes, there are times when a big-picture approach can be beneficial. Here are five places to start. 

1. Products and Services
The call center won’t have much say in the products a company provides. But it can be a recipient of feedback on those products. Listen to what customers are saying and compile that information in a way that lets management know what is happening. And if customers request a related product or a change to an existing one, pass that information along as well. 

2. Convenience
The customer’s time is valuable, so it should not be wasted. At a call center that means shortening hold time on calls, answering questions quickly and courteously, and efficiently handling orders and returns. 

3. Choices
Many call centers have become contact centers, to acknowledge the array of options now available to customers for placing an order or asking a question. These include communication with virtual agents, email and even posting feedback on a Facebook page. Customer service often means meeting the customer on their preferred terms. 

4. Courteous and Qualified Employees
And once again we return to the topic featured in so many of our previous blogs – the importance of friendly, knowledgeable call center agents. Invest in excellence to receive excellence in return. One bad experience jeopardizes not just that customer relationship, but countless others if that customer shares the details on Facebook or Twitter. 

5. Reduce (or Eliminate) Repetition
Most customers are fine with providing some personal information and any necessary transaction information to the call center agent. But their patience will be exhausted quickly if they are asked to do so more than once. Agents should have the technology to pull a data file with their complete history and information, and move the discussion along to the next step.

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5 Tips To Improve Customer Loyalty Through Call Recording

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Customer loyalty is critical to any type of business, and the call center plays a key role in this objective. 

The objective is to identify those customers most likely to become a defection stat, and take steps to return them to the fold. When customers perceive that their business is important and appreciated, they are more likely to stick around. 

Here are 5 tips on how to use call recording for customer retention. 

1. Program Alerts
Have a customer that is showing signs of leaving? Make sure that information is communicated quickly to the appropriate party, along with call recordings of previous engagements. Fast action can save the account.

2. Put a Specialist in Charge

Review call-recording sessions between agents and dissatisfied customers. Find your superstars at handling these situations, and make sure similar calls are routed to them.

3. Agent Training
Retraining is vital for any agents that are losing more customers than others. Call recordings will reveal where mistakes were made, so they can be corrected through training. 

4. Be Prepared
Analyze call recordings to discover the reasons some customers leave, and make sure all agents have effective answers ready when these issues are raised, as well as a script that has answers to frequently asked questions, and focuses on persuading customers to stay. 

5. Train By Example
Use call recordings to create a library of best-practice calls, as well as a collection of calls where the customer was lost. Use them in all training/coaching sessions. 

To learn more about how call recording can help you, watch a short video or download this whitepaper.

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Customer Satisfaction Starts with Employee Satisfaction

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Do happier employees make for happier customers? That sounds like a good policy, and there have been studies at call centers to verify the theory. The most significant one was conducted back in 2005. Technology may have changed since then, but human nature has not; chances are its basic conclusions will be just as true 10 years from now as they are today. More...

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