8 things your call center can implement to help offset the impact of a challenged economy

* Reinvest in current customers. Re-allocate resources to take extra care of those customers who have stuck with you.

* Cross train your people. Cross training your call center reps will improve productivity and add flexibility to your schedules.

* Take new approaches. If your customers aren’t spending time onFacebookTwitterLinkedIn.com, etc., they will be soon. Make sure your company is visible on these social networks and easy to find. You’ll want to include social network monitoring and response as part of your agent cross-training.

* Consolidate troops. Move all your teams and departments to the same location to save money on technology, energy and training cost. Taking it a bit further, you could combine your purchasing power with other companies to gain greater negotiating leverage and reduce costs. This applies not only to purchase products and supplies but also to services. What contact center does not utilize a cleaning service?

* Reinforce the basics. Simple fine tuning of courtesy skills can have a dramatic impact. Even if you have not implemented an automatedquality monitoring system yet, set up some peer evaluation and coaching as part of your new cross-training regimen.

* Reward your people. Innovative rewards and incentive programs can motivate and refocus your team. Make it fun to achieve.

* Personalize your CRM efforts. If you have call handling scripts, think about adding some personalization. Add some fields in your CRM for your customer’s birthdays, sports teams, local town, family status, etc. Next time the customer calls in, they will feel special and truly cared about, and most importantly – “they’re more than a number” to you.

* Capture the “WOW”. Have your reps add some notes on the “wow” moment – that moment when a customer seems to really show their satisfaction. Save these recorded calls to a “Best Of” media library and share amongst the organization. This will not only beef up morale but can help in training new hires.

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