6 Characteristics Your Help Desk Call Center Needs For The Best Customer Experience

Taking care of customers better than your competition is the #1 way to differentiate your company in it’s niche. Did you know that 68% of customers will spend more to get better customer service? Having the lowest price doesn’t guarantee the sale, but having a better help desk can.

Technical support and desk call center services make it easy for any small or medium sized business (SMB) to build strong customer relationships without an enterprise class investment in customer service. Using call center agents to manage your voice or chat channels gives small businesses the opportunity to provide better customer service at the lowest price point – all while improving the overall customer experience.

So what characteristics should a technical support or help desk call center have to make sure you’re developing the best customer experience? What should you look for when comparing vendors? We’ve listed the top 6 characteristics you should be looking for below:

1. Multi-channel

Offering multiple channels of communication for your customers is no longer just an option for businesses, but a necessity. In a 2017 Customer Service report, 66% of surveyors say they actively use 3 or more channels to correspond with a business and 52% responded that their interaction with a business starts online. These types of data trends prove just how important it is for businesses to change gears and adjust how they interact with customers.

For businesses that look to call center outsourcing, it’s equally important that those service centers can also provide omni-channel communication options to both their customers and their customer’s customers. Here are some channels call centers use to optimize customer communication:

  • Phone: While it seems like offering phone support is a no-brainer, more and more companies are actually ditching telephone support and focusing on channels like email and live chat instead. This may seem like a step in the right direction for customer support, but is actually a huge disservice. Many people express themselves better verbally or just don’t have the resources to communicate with your business online. If you don’t have the budget to include phone support in your office, call centers offer a cost effective alternative to give your business a live voice for customers to talk to 24/7.
  • Email Response: Monitoring and responding to emails is a time-consuming task that many professionals tend to put on the back burner or deal with twice – at the beginning and the end of the day. However, failing to respond to customer requests quickly is a great way to lose opportunities. If you and your employees are struggling to respond to emails in a timely manner, your call center can help. Simply route your emails to the call center and they’ll follow the specific protocols you’ve set up. For example, some emails may just need a general response to a question, while others may require an in-house employee to step in and take the lead. A help desk call center can help you and your team weed through and prioritize your inbox!
  • Live Chat: Live chat is one of the most accessible channels of customer service and often  the preferred method of communication. Live chat makes it easy for customers to multi-task and get instant answers they may not have been able to find online, and is a great way for businesses to bridge the gap between customers who would rather call for support, and those who would rather fill out a support ticket and communicate via email. Live chat outsourcing helps build better customer relationships and allows your brand to become more accessible.
  • Text response: Similar to live chat, offering text response as a means of communication for your customers is a great way for your call center to help answer simple questions that may not warrant an email or a call back. Additionally, many people, especially Millennials, are more prone to texting than they are to picking up the phone and calling someone. For this reason, offering text response as an option may be the reason a customer decides to stay with your company instead of moving on.

2. Integrated

One of the ways help desk call centers actually help your business is to eliminate data entry work. Call centers do this by offering integrations into the software you’re already using in your business. An app integration system allows you, the user, to connect whatever in-house software you’re using with your call center. Once your system is linked up and your settings are configured accordingly, all data gathered by your call center agents can push through the integration and populate on your side.

Implementing integrations with your call center allows the operators to take on more responsibility while handling your calls, and minimizes the amount of time-consuming work your in-house team have to worry about. That means no unnecessary data entry, which means more time focused on closing leads and providing undivided customer attention.

3. Scripting

Your call center script is the glue that holds everything together, as it’s what the operators use to effectively handle your calls. So, it’s important to understand your call center’s capabilities and limitations in terms of what they can and can’t do in order for you to provide the best possible care to your customers. Here are some great talking points to discuss with your call center:

  • Once I create a script, can it be changed? Since nothing ever stays the same for long, you’ll want to make sure your call center can effectively update your script in a timely manner. For example, if your pricing or services changed, is it possible to update your account with new information? If so, how quickly can changes go into effect?
  • Are you able to handle calls the way my staff does? Customization is key in providing specialized care to your customers. For example, a medical practice may want to screen callers based off their insurance provider, whereas an HVAC company may want to screen callers based off residential or commercial requests. While your call center may not be able to handle calls exactly the same way your in-house staff would, they should be able to replicate the most important aspects of your protocol.
  • Can I include an emergency protocol?: In the event of an all out catastrophe, you’ll want to make sure your help desk call center can include an emergency protocol within your script. If a caller checks off all the necessary boxes, allowing your call center agents to transfer the call to your in-house team could be the action that saves that customer from quitting. Having that immediate connection can help diffuse a situation a lot quicker than making an upset customer wait for a call back.

4. Escalations

Call centers are equipped to handle calls for many different types of industries, including those whose customers may require tier 1 help desk troubleshooting. For example, a computer software company may want their call center to screen callers based off the severity of their issue, and walk the customer through a simple troubleshooting process before escalating.

Depending on your specific needs, your help desk call center should be able to implement a call handling protocol that will make sense for the agents and also help cut down on the amount of call backs your in-house team have to make. As long as your call center agents have a scripted workflow they can follow, they should have no problem helping callers with password resets, troubleshooting known error codes or assisting customers with logging in, while more complex issues can generate a support request to a more experienced team member.

5. Location

When many people think of outsourcing, they immediately think about businesses delegating jobs to workers overseas. However, there are many outsourcing opportunities in the U.S. as well. We’ve broken down a few pros and cons for each below, but it’s up to you to decide what will work best for your business.

Overseas Outsourcing: Pros

  • Lower labor costs and upkeep: A huge benefit to outsourcing overseas is the money you’ll save in labor costs. Generally speaking, overhead and employee costs overseas are much cheaper than they are in the U.S, which means your business could turn a much larger profit due to the savings.
  • Access to larger pool of workers: Typically, businesses outsource jobs to underdeveloped countries, which means there is a large pool of potential employers in the market. Because of this, the more job opportunities a business is able to provide to underdeveloped or lower income communities, the more resources become available which can help bridge the gap between the poor and the wealthy.

Overseas Outsourcing: Cons

  • Quality control oversights: While outsourcing overseas has it’s ups, it’s also got it’s down, one of them being quality control. When a business outsources work to another country, they relinquish a great deal of control over operations. This change in the system can sometimes be a detriment to the overall quality of service that is provided, and may have a negative effect on business.
  • Communication barriers: Another downside  of outsourcing overseas are the communication barriers and the effect that has on your customer service. Typically, when customers call your customer service line, they’re reaching out about an issue or concern they’re having. If they’re having trouble communicating with your agents, chances are they’re going to become more frustrated which could increase their chances of cancelling.

US Based Outsourcing: Pros

  • Keep a local presence: Just because your business is outsourcing doesn’t mean you need to give up a local presence. Outsourcing to a US based company is a great way to minimize the cultural divide and is typically better received by customers.
  • Affordable pricing options: While outsourcing overseas may be cheaper than outsourcing in the United States, it’s still a more affordable option than hiring more in-house employees. When working with a call center, you won’t have to worry about paying for overtime or other employee costs like benefits, insurance, etc. In addition, US based call centers offer competitive pricing and can typically size up or down with your business accordingly.

US Based Outsourcing: Cons

  • Less control over quality assurance: Similar to outsourcing overseas, business owners may experience a shift in quality control. However, the shift seems to be less noticeable when outsourcing within the same country as opposed to overseas. This could be because technology in the US is more advanced, allowing businesses the opportunity to listen to calls themselves and rate operator performance.

6. Language

The United States is a melting pot of different cultures, and many people living here speak multiple different languages. As a business owner, you’d be foolish not to try and cater to such a large potential audience. While many businesses may not have the resources or funds to offer bilingual or multilingual services in house, call centers are able to step in and help without breaking the bank.

Bilingual  call center operators are able to handle all of the same tasks as any other operator, and service providers don’t typically charge that much to include a bilingual option in your plan. If you’re looking for a way to reach a wider customer base without spending an arm and a leg, utilizing a bilingual call center service is a great place to start! Finding a call center that offers multilingual services like French or Mandarin may be a bit harder to find, and may come at a premium cost due to availability or accessibility.

If you find the best help desk call center for your business, you’ll be able to grow naturally with them without having to worry about seeking new providers when you don’t have the bandwidth to make a change. SAS Call Center offers help desk call center services that can be your stand alone help desk, or your Tier 1 front lines.

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