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Improving call center customer service is key to standing out from the competition. Customer satisfaction scores don’t just affect ROI–they impact nearly every aspect of the call center, from employee engagement to marketing strategies.

83% of customers are more loyal to companies that are responsive to their complaints (*). Loyal customers are more effective at closing than the best sales reps.

Below, discover our best practices for how to improve customer support in your contact center.


Actionable Ways to Improve Call Center Customer Service

There are many strategies for improving customer service in contact centers, but the best ones for you depend on your business needs and customer base.

Here are some actionable ways to provide faster and more effective customer support.


1. Provide comprehensive agent training

Most customers contact businesses because they need some type of technical or product support. Properly trained call center agents keep customer support interactions consistent and effective.

Call center training should be varied and engaging to help agents retain as much information as possible and further develop essential call center agent skills.

Gamification tools like leaderboards, scoring, and rewards are a great way to accomplish this. Contact center agents should also be given ample opportunities to practice with real customers. Call monitoring tools (call whisper, call barge, call takeover) let more experienced supervisors listen in on customer conversations, provide real-time agent coaching, and intervene if necessary.


2. Provide regular feedback to agents

Clear, actionable feedback ensures new and experienced agents provide stellar customer support while clarifying performance expectations.

Instead of listening to hours of call recordings and manually reading through call transcripts, supervisors can leverage speech analytics to get insights from 100% of interactions. These analytics, which often include sentiment and intent analysis, evaluate agent performances and identify specific areas for improvement. Many even include timestamps of key moments in customer-agent conversations that agents can replay.

Supervisors can create call recording playlists of top (or especially problematic) conversation recordings to train future agents and provide real-world examples of how to handle difficult customers. Automated post-call performance scoring pinpoints specific areas where agents need to improve. Admins can customize performance scorecards and set up automated training module assignments to help struggling team members.

Regular feedback increases employee engagement–and highly engaged employees are 23% more profitable(*).


3. Implement advanced call center software

Advanced call center software leverages AI, Natural Language Processing, and machine learning to take traditional tools like automatic call distribution (ACD) and interactive voice response (IVR) to the next level.

These technologies significantly improve the customer experience by giving agents relevant data during live customer conversations, enabling 24/7 self-service and proactive customer support.

Examples of advanced call center software include:

  • AI Chatbots: Chatbots integrate with helpdesk software and internal knowledge bases, using NLP to answer customer questions and process routine transactions without a live agent
  • Agent Assist: Leverages AI to automatically provide agents with customer conversation history, call scripts, product information, and more during live interactions
  • Sentiment Analysis: Tracks and analyzes customer calls to determine overall customer sentiment during interactions
  • AI-driven Analytics: Analyzes 100% of omnichannel interactions to identify common customer concerns and agent performance issues requiring immediate attention


4. Use call routing and IVR systems

IVR and call routing systems shorten customer wait times and call queues, reduce agent and customer frustration, and evenly distribute workloads.

IVR systems let customers direct their own calls by interacting with a pre-recorded call menu and choosing the relevant department, call group, or agent to be transferred to. This connects customers to the best available agent the first time, avoiding callbacks and endless transfers.

Call routing and ACD systems automatically transfer calls based on preset rules such as relevant agent skills, business hours, longest agent idle time, Round Robin, simultaneous ring, etc.


5. Implement omnichannel support

Contacting companies via nontraditional channels such as text, web chat, and social media is increasing in popularity. Companies that want to stand out should implement omnichannel support.

Omnichannel support lets customers reach out on their preferred channel and switch channels during live interactions, creating a more personalized experience. Agents can view complete customer conversation histories across channels under one pane of glass, eliminating repetition and ensuring agents are properly prepared.


6. Offer self-service options

Customer self-service lets customers complete routine processes like purchases, order tracking, and appointment scheduling on their own time and without interacting with a live agent.

Self-service options also reduce stress on agents, cut costs, and help to ensure consistency in service. Plus, given that 81% of consumers want to have more self-service options, they help your business meet customer expectations. (*)

cxone XO self service


7. Personalize customer interactions

63% of customers want a personalized customer experience that caters to their specific concerns. (*)

While omnichannel support lets customers choose their method of contact, CRM integrations enable hyper-personalized customer service. Agents can review past interaction notes, customer demographics, order history, and even preset personal preferences to provide a perfectly tailored support experience.



8. Reduce hold times

Unsurprisingly, long wait times increase abandonment rates and are one of the most common customer complaints–but what constitutes a “long wait time” may be a shock.

Almost 60% of consumers were unwilling to wait on hold for more than just one minute, and over 90% were unwilling to be on hold for more than five minutes.(*)

The first step to reducing hold times is to measure hold times. A CCaaS platform measures and monitors average hold times, identifies peak call times, and helps you implement strategies to reduce hold times like:

  • Implement self-service options
  • Update your IVR system to include more relevant options
  • Utilize AI chatbots and voicebots
  • Hire more agents
  • Improve agent training
  • Update your company’s website or knowledge base


9. Improve first call resolution rates

The first call resolution (first contact resolution) rate is the percentage of customer issues that are resolved during the first interaction. The industry standard for FCR is just under 70%, meaning that about 70% of issues are resolved during the first interaction between the customer and an agent.(*)

Improving FCR leads to happier customers, lowers cost per contact, and increases productivity levels.

Strategies to improve FCR include:

  • Implementing customer quality assurance
  • Recognizing and rewarding agents
  • Designing an escalation matrix
  • Improving agent training, onboarding, and continued coaching
  • Leveraging tools such as Agent Assist and Call Pop


10. Offer customer callback

Small improvements can make a big difference. For high-volume call centers, implementing customer callback options can greatly improve customer satisfaction.

Automated callbacks let customers avoid waiting on hold, allowing them to receive a callback when an agent is available or when works best with their schedule. Admins can also configure custom hold music and give customers an estimated wait time or information about their place in the call queue.


11. Implement a quality assurance program

A quality assurance program takes a holistic view of customer experience, using post-call customer surveys and call compliance results.

Call compliance is measured through call recording and transcription tools.

QA programs have a great track record for improving both FCR and CSAT scores, with 76% of companies saying reviewing interactions improves CSAT scores.(*)


12. Optimize workforce management

Workforce management (WFM) and workforce optimization (WFO) encompass tools that help companies allocate human resources, track attendance, and remain in compliance with workplace regulations. Although the general goal of workforce management is to make things better for employees, an optimized WFM/WFO strategy will improve CX as well.

Common WFM/WFO features include:

  • Labor forecasting
  • Scheduling
  • Shift trading
  • Time tracking
  • Absence management
  • Overtime management

When call centers are properly staffed, agents have the support they need to focus on customers. Giving agents the ability to schedule vacations, bid on and trade shifts, and review automatic PTO approvals means better performance and increased job satisfaction.



Implementing A Call Center Customer Service Strategy

To determine how to improve call center customer service, start by analyzing your customer base. Determine the most common demographics (age range, geographic location, income levels), review top customer concerns, and evaluate general preferences. This data can be obtained through customer surveys or CCaaS reporting and analytics tools.

Once you have a good idea of your customer needs and expectations, it’s easier to identify effective strategies. For example, if your customers are aged 20-40 and mostly work from home, you may want to start by implementing omnichannel support. If the most common customer complaint is long wait times, you should address that. For more tech-savvy clients, you might begin by implementing self-service or improving agent training.