Tips & Tricks: Use Your Call Center to Provide Exceptional Service to Drivers
At TTN, we operate a world-class, industry leading call center staffed with agents who understand the maintenance and repair industry. We employ a set of best practices we’ve developed over the course of more than a decade. And we’re expert at not only getting trucks back on the road, but also keeping drivers happy and informed throughout the process.
If you want to know everything about that and learn how we can help you — either with full-time coverage or during nights, weekends, or periods of peak demand — I invite you to reach out to me or anyone at TTN to help you.
But if you want a few tips and tricks that will help you improve your call center operations immediately, keep reading.
Deliver a Solid First Impression
Drivers want to be able to believe in you. So when they call with an emergency, answer the phone within just a few seconds. Then, impress drivers the moment they answer with active listening. This involves demonstrating concern, paraphrasing what you’re being told, and providing verbal affirmation, such as, “I see,” “I understand,” or “I empathize and want to help you with that issue.”
Active listening is a skill. It can (and should) be developed with training. It’s way more than “just being nice.” It involves not only affirmation, but also confirmation of perfect understanding of why a driver is calling and what must happen next.
Done correctly, active listening will actually increase your agents’ understanding of problems and will help your call center increase driver satisfaction by ensuring faster and more accurate resolution of issues.
Shorten Resolution Time
Drivers deserve fast and knowledgeable support. Your call center can’t provide this unless it’s trained in how to solve the most common issues drivers call about. The less an agent knows about how to resolve important issues, the more likely that agent is to place a driver on hold.
Call center training should include not only skill and knowledge-based presentations, but also should be accompanied by documentation, quick reference guides, videos, and other tools agents can keep at their fingertips and use in real time.
What else will happen? Your agents will be more confident and have an easier time enjoying their jobs, because they will be better equipped to help people, faster. So you’ll reduce your churn of call center employees while you reduce driver turnover.
Track Driver Satisfaction
There’s an old adage that what you measure is what you’ll improve. At TTN, we’ve found that to be true about call center management.
The best bet is to automate measurement of key satisfaction indicators. Configure your call center software to automatically monitor call sentiments. Share results with call center staff and engage your staff in development of strategies for improving service.
In addition, pay close attention to these key metrics:
- Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
- Average Handle Time (AHT)
- Customer Satisfaction Rate
- Compliance/Quality Scores
Hire the Right People
This may sound obvious, but there’s a counterintuitive piece to this advice that some hiring managers may not realize. Specifically, TTN hires for attitude first, aptitude second.
Why? It’s much easier to teach a friendly person how to resolve breakdown issues than it is to teach a broken-down person how to be friendly. A call center agent who lacks empathy or compassion won’t provide great service to drivers, regardless of his or her knowledge of diesel engines.
Hire good people and train them as subject matter experts.
Use Technology with a Purpose
Chatbots and interactive voice response systems are not always for drivers. If applied incorrectly, they can be frustrating in an emergency where time matters and patience is scarce. Drivers sometimes want to speak with a person. And you should make sure that person is a well-trained agent.
If you do use an auto attendant, be sure to give drivers an “out,” such as pressing “0” to reach someone who can begin helping, immediately.
There’s plenty of technology available that can speed the transactional nature of a call for help. Don’t add technology that’s abusive or technology that slows the process.
Give Agents the Tools To Do Their Jobs
It takes more than Internet software and a Rolodex to make agents successful. Whether in the office or working remotely, your agents will benefit from easily accessible databases, phone system features that facilitate cooperation and teamwork, and a customer relationship management system that serves to let agents access basic information and the histories of trucks and other equipment.
Take care of your team, and your team will take care of your drivers.
View Calls as Opportunities
There was a time when companies encouraged drivers not to call their support centers. But today’s most successful call centers understand that any costs they incur from a call are usually far offset by avoidance of soft costs or hidden costs associated with drivers not getting help or with equipment not being serviced.
Every call represents an opportunity to improve something.
And organizations that view driver calls for emergency service in this regard will eventually view their call answering operations as money-saving organizations, rather than cost centers.
In fact, TTN estimates an annual savings of 15 percent or more — in soft costs related to roadside assistance, breakdown management, and maintenance — for more customers who use our services exclusively. There’s much you can do on your own; however, chances are we’ve already invested in what you need and can leverage our well-equipped and highly trained agents to enhance your team.