As we move further into the world of e-commerce, e-education,e-administration and even e-society, first (and second and third) impressions are increasingly made not by your sales team, but by brand touchpoints like your website, e-commerce platform, and of course, your customer care centre.

You can build the perfect website with word-class payment facilities, but there will always be those customers who need to contact the customer support team. The call centre is often the only place where human interaction happens for an online business, with your agents becoming the only human voice your business presents to many of its customers.

You may not be an online-only business, but the health of your contact centre is just as important and should be a top priority. We all know how fast complaints can spread on social media, and how damaging that can be for a brand.

So it’s worth taking a moment to consider what kind of impression your customers are left with after an interaction with your call centre.

Are they being put on hold for ages until an agent becomes free, arguing with a robotic voice for ten minutes before they eventually reach a human being, and then being passed around from agent to agent receiving scripted lines that don’t really answer their questions?

Even the usually pleasant ‘Is there anything else I can help you with today, sir?”, can be extremely annoying when the agent wasn’t able to solve the only problem a customer has called about, and is only saying it because it’s in their script.

Increasing productivity is not enough

Good customer service shouldn’t just be about the number of calls answered, or even about resolution time. While these elements certainly are important, they can distract you from the huge opportunity your call centre presents. Where better to build trust, portray the human side of your brand, show empathy, and prove that you truly do put your customers first?

You should be thinking about how to turn your call centre into a centre of excellence. A channel that your customers learn to value and trust. A living example of the promises your marketing and sales teams make on a daily basis. Maybe then your customers will turn into loyal brand ambassadors rather than disillusioned brand haters.

The right technology can help you put your customers first

Customer support centre technology has evolved rapidly in the last few years. Integration with social media, email, SMS and web chat means that you can speak to your customers via the channels they prefer. And real-time reporting gives managers complete control when it comes to quality assurance and performance monitoring across all these channels.

It’s all available in the cloud now, which means that small call centres can afford to offer the same quality of service as their bigger competitors.

Focus on what’s important – your customers

Call centres are undergoing a bit of a revolution as more online businesses crop up, and ‘traditional’ businesses start to have a bigger online presence. New technology enables you to monitor call quality and agent performance effortlessly. This not only saves time and money, it also empowers managers to focus on what’s important – helping their teams serve their customers better.

Why not use all the time saved to think strategically about how to turn your contact centre into a hub of customer service excellence? Who knows, maybe your next marketing campaign will focus on the great service your loyal customers are enjoying.