Live voice support is a necessary part of every customer experience strategy. It’s tricky to get right. Few things will turn a customer off like an insufferably long wait on hold or a frustrating phone call.
Live voice support typically consists of agents answering inbound phone calls from customers and helping them solve their issues or transferring them to someone else. Some voice programs include agents making outbound sales calls to follow up with leads.
Here are eight questions to ask yourself when considering launching a live voice support program to make sure you get it right.
1. What’s my goal for implementing live voice support?
Is it for customer service? Sales? Both? Determining exactly why you want live voice support will help you craft scripts and fill in the blanks for the rest of your strategy.
Customers often want the option to talk to a real person over the phone when they have a problem. Offering live voice support can also help your sales efforts. Up to 50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first, so an effective live voice program can ensure that it’s you.
Be sure to set SMART goals. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals will help you narrow down your focus and develop a clear game plan.
2. What metrics do I want to measure?
This goes hand-in-hand with question 1. With each goal you have for the project, you must match it to a measurable metric. That way, you’ll easily be able to tell if you’re meeting your goals.
Some key metrics to keep an eye on are:
- Response time
- Call handle time
- Customer satisfaction
- Conversion rate
- Call volume trends
3. What’s my brand voice?
Brand voice is essentially your organization’s personality. It’s the culmination of the vocabulary you use, the images and icons you choose, and the messages you portray. While customers may not be familiar with the term, they can definitely recognize the tone of your brand and how it makes them feel.
Make sure that you define your brand voice carefully before setting up live voice support. It will inform your scripts and provide valuable training to your agents. It will have an impact on how customers feel after they talk to you, so make sure it’s positive and helpful.
4. What’s my budget?
As with any new project, it’s important to determine your budget beforehand. If you’re staffing internally, figure out if you’ll need to hire more people or reallocate responsibilities. If you’re outsourcing, compare the quotes you get to your target ROI.
Pricing for outsourced contact centers can vary depending on the volume of calls you typically receive and the hours of operation you’re looking for. Most places will offer you an hourly rate that’s determined based on those factors.
5. Will I outsource or use internal staff?
This is a big one. The answer is: it depends. Both options have their benefits and it comes down to your budget, your resources, and your goals. In some cases, outsourcing can be cheaper than staffing internally. In other instances, using internal staff can be beneficial because your team already has a deep understanding of your offerings.
However, most organizations opt for a combination. They’ll leverage an outsourced team to handle easy FAQs and keep internal staff on-hand to respond to inquiries that the outsourced agents can’t answer.
Related: Call Center vs. Contact Center: What’s the Difference?
6. What’s my timeline?
Sometimes, with outbound sales programs, there’s an end date. Maybe you bought a list of 10,000 leads you want to follow up with. In this case, your timeline may only be a few months. On the other hand, with customer service programs, there typically isn’t an end date.
Also, it’s important to consider how soon you want to start. Keep in mind that set up and training can take a couple of weeks. Once the program launches, it may take a few days or weeks afterward to iron out all the kinks.
7. What are the technological requirements for the program?
Technological requirements can range from the headsets agents use to the cloud-based platform that calls are made on. If you’re staffing the live chat yourself, be sure to keep track of the equipment you bought for the program to accurately calculate your ROI.
When choosing a cloud-based platform, ask to see a demo before you buy so you can make sure it has everything you’re looking for. Try to look past the bells and whistles to make sure the core technology is what you want.
8. How will I measure metrics and keep track of calls?
Often, contact center software keeps track of important metrics automatically. Some platforms keep recordings and transcripts of calls for periodic review.
It can be a good idea to schedule a monthly slot in your calendar to review your progress. You may need to reevaluate your goals based on trends you notice.
Overall, the key is to plan carefully and accept the fact that you may need to adjust as you go. Live voice support is at the heart of customer experience strategy, but it can be intimidating to get started. Be sure to ask yourself these questions and you’ll be off to a good start.