Contrary to popular opinion, business phone calls don’t actually end at the “click.” Although the customer has left, Sales and Support professionals still have work to do before starting a new conversation.
This process of wrapping up the previous call before attending to a new one is called “after-call work” — and it’s vital to creating and maintaining positive customer experiences.
Now that we know what after-call work is, let’s take a look at what it involves.
Common After-Call Tasks
After-call work varies from team to team. What you do after the call is over can make or break a customer experience. Here are a few things you can do after a customer call to make sure that you and your team deliver exceptional customer experience.
Nobody’s memory is perfect. In fact, you’re likely to forget what you “learned” within 20 minutes of hearing it. Our human tendencies to forget subtle details can have a dramatic impact on customer relationships and brand reputations.
Taking the time to add a comment after a phone call can go a long way in helping to jog your memory and help your customers know that you care about them. These useful comments can help not just the agent that answered the phone call, but also other teammates who could answer a call from that person in the future.
Comments and tags go hand in hand in the world of after-call work. Tags can help you keep track and organize incoming calls based on the type of call you answered. By tagging a call, agents and managers can quickly sift through dozens of calls to find the one they’re looking for.
Additionally, it can help your team keep track of the kind of calls you’re getting. This can help you come up with creative ways to problem-solve. For example, are you getting the same question asked over and over again? Perhaps it’s time to add it to your FAQ page or feature it more prominently so your customers can resolve their own issues without crowding your queue.
Following up with customers is key to preserving a good relationship. The last thing you want is to leave a customer hanging after an interaction with your company. When agents incorporate follow-up emails into their after-call flow, they can quickly catch issues with a customer before they escalate.
A quick email detailing the conversation and next steps not only helps your customers feel like their concerns were heard but also helps you keep track of whether or not things were addressed to completion.
Nobody is an expert at everything. Having a team with diverse specialties and experiences is foundational to building a well-rounded support strategy.
This naturally means one person may be better suited to respond to a certain type of customer query than another. Assigning calls to that more qualified teammate is a quick task that can vastly improve a customer’s experience with your brand.
Rather than bouncing the customer around from agent to agent (a situation sure to irritate the customer) assigning a call puts them into the queue of the most likely person to provide a satisfying answer.
The Importance of After-Call Work
After-call work isn’t a luxury for sales or support agents, it’s a necessity. It helps maintain the vital connection between your company and your customers — which more than justifies going the extra mile.
The tasks involved in after-call work can be structured to improve customer interactions, increase your overall service levels, and elevate your customer satisfaction. Additionally, after-call work can be holistically beneficial in other ways, including:
Creating processes that contribute to clear and measurable standards across a team can be hard. But progress becomes impossible when there’s no objective data to analyze.
Oftentimes it’s hard to know if a call went well or not without listening to a call recording. Additionally, it’s hard to follow up with what happened after the call to make sure the customer found their resolution. This makes diligent after-call work the only scalable solution.
Accurate wrap-up work makes metrics easier to track and gives teams a better chance at responding to key performance indicators quickly. Managers can confirm whether agents are correctly entering the data that they need to, tagging it correctly, and assigning tickets to the right teammates.
Reading comments is quicker than pulling up tons of phone calls to listen to and check for quality —especially when you have a large team and a limited supply of QA specialists on the squad.
Stronger Sales Processes
As with Customer Support, Sales rely heavily on building good relationships with (potential) customers. To do this, you have to build a rapport. But when the sales desk has a spike in the number of customers they need to reach out to (a great problem to have), it can become hard to keep track of who is who.
Don’t flush away the goodwill you’ve worked hard to build simply because you don’t have their details saved. Maintain that personal touch and avoid the embarrassment of forgetting who someone is by adding after-call work into your sales process.
Increasing speed only to reduce service quality isn’t a recipe for customer satisfaction.
Take an extra few minutes after hanging up with a caller to make sure that you’ve noted how someone pronounces their name, or if they had been thinking of upgrading their service when they last called. That valuable time spent will help you build and maintain lasting relationships with current and future customers.
How Long Should After-Call Work Take?
The duration of after-call work depends on many different factors. The type of call, the severity of the issue, and the expertise of the agent all impact the equation.
On average, an after-call workflow typically wraps up within two minutes. However, keep in mind there is no absolute standard here. It’s important for after-call work to be quick and efficient so that agents can get back to the queue. But increasing speed only to reduce service quality isn’t a recipe for customer satisfaction.
One big factor that can affect both the accuracy and speed of your work is the type of technology you’re using. If agents have to manually remember and enter every single detail of their calls into your CRM, then after call work can take a long time. Additionally, manual entry can get dull and repetitive, increasing the odds of mistakes being made.
Improving the automation and integration of your work tools is a great way to eliminate the problem of both speed and accuracy. Have your team take a look to find tools that can help reduce or even completely eliminate the need to have lots of manual data entry.
The Bottom Line
After-call work represents a small window of activity that can have huge consequences for your customer experience. It helps your team keep track of critical details. It empowers managers to conduct quality assurance audits with ease. And it improves your ability to personalize future interactions and cultivate good customer relationships.
While all these factors are very important in creating a great customer experience, the most crucial part of the whole experience are the people delivering it.
It’s easy for staff to feel overwhelmed while working on a busy sales floor or fielding non-stop support tickets. And when this reality is ignored, agent productivity starts to decline as motivation drops. Eventually, even customers can tell your heart (and/or your head) isn’t in it.
After-call work is an automated way to ensure agents get some downtime in between interactions. And those sacred few minutes throughout a day can refuel your team with all the energy they need to start more customer conversations on the right foot.
Curious about how to create a productive after-call workflow? We have some great tips on how to help your agents breeze through their work.