Retail Call Center Best Practices

Retail call centers are a critical link between brands and customers. High-quality customer service can generate repeat business and boost revenue. This article will examine retail call center best practices and how cloud-based communication systems improve data collection and analysis.

Why Are Retail Call Centers So Important?

Retail call centers are one of the most important touch points between brands and their customers. These divisions answer routine customer questions, provide assistance and attempt to resolve disputes. Call centers are a critical part of the customer experience and poor customer service can significantly impact your bottom line. That means your call center needs to get it right every single time. Here are some best practices that can ensure you consistently provide the highest quality service.

Retail Call Center Best Practices

Empower your agents to make decisions:

Retail call center agents follow conversation scripts and lengthy lists of procedures. While standardizing the customer experience is important, these requirements can make it difficult for agents to address unusual issues. Agents need to be empowered to make decisions to support the customer when the problem is not neatly covered by the current policy. This could be as simple as waiving shipping charges to return a damaged product or honoring a coupon with an unclear end date. These decisions can significantly improve customer loyalty and drive repeat business.

Demand customer satisfaction:

The purpose of a retail call center isn't to just answer questions and process returns. A call center should be a centerpiece of high-quality customer experience. That starts with recruiting and training. Hiring the lowest cost labor to staff a call center often defeats the purpose. Hiring motivated, engaged call center staff and training them to provide high-quality service maximizes the value of your call center. That training should focus on understanding the company's target customer and anticipating concerns in advance. For example, if customers most frequently call about product repairs, then agents can spend extra time preparing for that scenario.

Recognize that not all customers should be treated equally: 

This may seem like it's in conflict with the last point. Shouldn't retail call centers be obsessed with customer experience? They absolutely should and there should be a minimum level of service for each customer. However, each customer is not equally valuable to your company. Most retailers segment customers by their Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), which represents the financial value of the relationship. Customers that make frequent purchases at or near the regular retail price will have a high CLV. Customers that buy infrequently and only when items are discounted will have a lower CLV. Prioritizing high CLV customers means taking their calls first, providing more personalized service, and going the extra mile to keep them happy. Low CLV customers, of course, need to be respected, but saving the highest quality service for your most valuable customers will pay dividends.

Leverage analytics and focus on the metrics that matter:

Effective analytics are critical to ensuring you harness your resources and that your call center runs smoothly. There are several key metrics that can be used to gauge the efficiency of a retail call center:

  • First Call Resolution: How frequently are inbound calls resolved on the first attempt?
  • Call Quality: Are agents professional, courteous and providing accurate information?
  • Response Time: How long do agents take to respond to an inbound call?
  • Appropriate Staffing: Are there enough agents to handle the call volume during a particular period?
  • Customer Satisfaction: How satisfied are customers with their call center experience?

These are some of the key metrics to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of your call center. However, retail call centers often rely on a patchwork of technologies across multiple locations. Using cloud infrastructure centralizes data collection and lets you identify emerging customer issues. Thorough analytics can uncover areas of weakness that could be hurting customer service ratings or losing sales. Internal cloud communications also allow agents to access internal knowledge, providing customers with quicker response times and less friction. Harnessing your customer data allows you to better understand your customer and provide more focused, value-added service.

Choosing the right technology is crucial to a successful retail business. Establish a streamlined retail communications strategy with 8x8, and focus on growing your business. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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