What is a Call Flow? What is its Purpose?
When customers contact your company they want immediate answers. Making a good first impression is crucial to customer service professionals. Recent studies show that opinions are formed within the first seven seconds of encountering a new situation or when meeting new people. This means that people can form a long-lasting impression about your brand or who you are as a person in a very short amount of time.
Since you do not have the luxury to explain what your brand is or clear up misconceptions, what can you do to ensure a better first impression with customers? The answer is having a consistent, organized, and intuitive customer service process flow or call flow.
What Is A Call Flow?
Similar to a map, a call flow is a guide that tells an agent the direction of the call from the start through to the end of a call. This guide can include lists of questions to ask, protocols, which steps to follow throughout the progression of the call, and whether or not an issue needs the attention of a manager. The call flow is used by contact and call centers of all sizes. Even after integrating chat, email, and texting the term call flow has remained. Depending on how big or small a company is, a call flow may have more or fewer steps. Below are the main parts of a call flow:
- Greeting– This is a very important part of the call flow because it is the very first thing a live agent should say to a customer. Depending on network traffic, customers may already be upset from a long queuing time. With this in mind, giving a warm welcome can help put the customer at ease. The agent usually starts by thanking the customer for calling, stating the company name, introducing themselves, and then asking how they can help the customer.
- Authentication– This is also a critical component of a call flow. This step involves verifying the customer’s identity to prevent fraudulent behavior. It’s usually done by asking for a piece of personal information like the customer’s phone number or the address they used for registration. Doing this ensures that the agent is speaking with the right person and removes the possibility of falling victim to fraud.
- Find the Driver– During this stage the purpose of the call is determined. It is also a point from which the call can go in many directions. It is important to quickly determine the correct driver in a call flow. Many agencies score their agents based on the speed they take in determining the driver of the call.
- Empathy– After the agent determines the driver of the call, they are expected to show genuine empathy to the caller. Lines like, “I’m so sorry to know that. I will do everything I can to help you.” prove to be another important part of a call flow. It is so important that agents who skip this step are likely to receive a bad rating on their call.
- Transition– At this stage of the call flow, agents have determined the driver of the call and are now ready to resolve the problem. An example of this transition in a call flow is: “Thank you for telling me the issue. Please give me a minute to check your Order ID so we can fix the issue.
- Troubleshooting– In a call flow, this is where the agent takes steps to resolve the issue the customer is facing. This step varies depending on the company, type of service and can take many different paths depending on the problem the caller describes.
- Recap– After resolving this issue, a recap about the call must be given to the customer. This involves a brief summary of their reason for calling, the outline of the problem, and how it is resolved. The last step of this recap is confirming the customer’s satisfaction by asking questions like: “Have I answered all of your questions today?”
- Branding the Call-In a call flow, finishing strong is important. After the many steps of the call flow are done, it is important to once again thank the customer and mention your company name to remind them of the great service you just provided.
What Is The Purpose Of A Call Flow?
What is the purpose of a call flow? Why is call flow important? Why should you use a call flow? These are the questions we will answer in this part of the article.
In an ideal world, agents could quickly resolve whatever issues a caller may face without a hitch. Unfortunately, this is clearly not the case in 100% of those interactions. Making use of a call flow can help the solution process. Having a call flow helps your agents increase their efficiency in handling the call and effectively resolving the issue most of the time.
Call flows are like road maps that tell agents how to handle even the most complex call scenarios. It ensures that the call gets to the right person in short order instead of having to bounce between several representatives before getting to the right one. This improvement helps build your brand’s reputation over time and helps aid customer retention.
What Does A Poorly Designed Call Flow Look Like?
The parts of a call flow we listed above are standard in the industry. However, people know that there is still a possibility of having a negative experience when calling contact centers. Why does this happen? What is the call missing?
An incomplete and poorly designed call flow can make every call a challenge. Poorly designed call flows can have one of the following components: has too many steps, is difficult to understand, is confusing, and has many judgment calls. Since judgment calls are very likely to give inconsistencies between the answers that agents give, it may lead to serious issues and poor customer service.
Low confidence and performance scores affect the morale of employees. When all of these factors combine, the turnover rate may be affected and increase. This not only affects the center’s performance but also affects the views customers hold about the company. When agents don’t know what to do, the quality of their service to customers is highly affected. Customers may become dissatisfied when their problem doesn’t get solved and they may choose to switch to a competitor.
Related: How to connect a phone to ethernet
What Does An Ideal Call Flow Look Like?
Having a good call flow can help make even your low-scoring agents into top agents who can ensure that customers are happy. An ideal call flow has only a small number of simple steps with clear resolutions and an answer for every type of call. This also means that a good call flow shouldn’t have a workaround and should not require agents to come up with their own repeatable solution for certain types of calls. The last requirement of a good call flow is ensuring that employees don’t have to guess or contact their team leaders for questions like, “How does VoLTE work?”. This also means that agents need to have good knowledge in their field to complement a good call flow.
How Can I Improve My Call Flow?
Various things should be kept in mind when trying to improve your call flow. One of these is the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule says that 20% of call types make up 80% of a center’s total calls. This makes it important to increase the efficiency of handling the 20% of unusual types of calls. Keeping your call flow simple prevents agents from getting overwhelmed and makes it easier for them to follow. A call flow that is too complex might cause errors or confusion to your agents.
A call flow can refer to two different but essential things:
- How calls are routed within your center’s system.
Since not all customer issues are the same, it is pivotal to assign which customers go to which agents. This process can be simplified by using automated answering services and setting up an intelligent IVR.
- An actual script of conversational flow that your agents follow. Conversations vary from call to call, having templates ready for each scenario helps agents deliver good quality customer service.
- Friendly greetings: Thank you for calling us at (company name)! How can I help you?
- Authentication: Can you please verify your registered mobile number so we can ensure we have the most recent information on file?
- Identifying the issue: I understand, you need help with (x).
- Being understanding: I’m sorry to hear that.
- Troubleshooting: Let’s see how I can help.
- Recap: Okay, valued customer, we have finished updating your address and filed a claim for your stolen credit card.
- Branding: Did you know that you can update your details via SMS? If you opt to receive text messages from us you don’t have to get in line in the future. Would you like to receive SMS notifications from us going forward?
Helpful Call Flow Tips
Having an excellent customer service call follow is crucial in running a business. It can make the difference between a trusted company and one that is not.
More than fifty-five percent of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. So what can you do to build an efficient call flow for your customer’s experience?
Here are five tips you can use to improve your business’s call flow.
1. Use scripting, but allow for flexibility
A script can help agents in various ways. Since humans talk to other humans, scripts used in calls shouldn’t be too rigid and should allow for flexibility. Giving room for some improvisation can help give a personal touch to the call.
2. Use call recordings to your advantage
Since advanced phone systems might use elements such as an automatic call distributor(ACD) to help agents manage high traffic, it is very helpful to have the option to record these calls. Recorded calls help data analysts determine which words or phrasing works best with customers. Injecting this data into your scripts will help the call sound more conversational.
3. Reduce Clutter & Fluff
Your call flow doesn’t need unnecessary fluff. Check where your greetings and statutory messages go.
A long and drawn-out message does not mean you are finished. The key to an effective call flow is to inform your customer of what they’re looking for without difficulty. The message needs to be concise. If a call takes too long, the employee and the customer are less likely to reach their goal.
4. Consider all possibilities
Some callers may already have a clear idea of what they need when they call a contact center. However, this is not always the case. Other customers might need some help arriving at this stage. Sometimes, the call might take a path that differs from what the agent expected. For these reasons, it is crucial to have different scenarios ready in your script.
5. Hire for excellent customer service skills
Since technical skills are much easier to teach than social skills, it is important to make customer service skills a priority when hiring people.
Read more: Analog phone system
Why Is Call Flow Important To A Call Center?
Having a great call flow gives agents aid to help them properly handle any possible scenario a customer might face. A good call flow not only helps customers solve their issues but also guarantees that they are satisfied with the service they receive. Agents who use a good call flow will see an increase in customer satisfaction and net promoter scores. In addition, the average handling time for each call would decrease.
Great call flow not only improves the agent but also the performance of the entire center itself. If agents have a reference they can use when answering calls, they are more confident on the phones. For the company, this improvement means a decrease in training and recruitment costs and an increase in profitability.
Here at Call Flow Solutions, our team knows call flows inside and out. We want your agents to be able to submit call flow recommendations and have managers approve and implement them in real-time! Contact us today!