20 July 2020

Templates: A Step By Step Guide for Contact Center Professionals


Last week we discussed how you can improve the average response time of your customer service team. A big part of that topic was building templates, and as templates go so much further; we've decided to dedicate an entire article for you so that you know exactly how to go about working with templates.

This article is going to be interesting for you, if you are;
  • Working in or with a client contact team and want to improve your knowledge.
  • In a management role in a contact center and want to improve the processes in your contact center.
  • Have your client contact outsourced and want to learn how to improve contact center processes.
  • Willing to learn more about the contact center industry or what our strategies are.

We're going to discuss working with templates in a structured way, with the following steps:
  • Make an inventory or FAQ with all situations that can arise
  • Find an answer to all possible situations and make sure to write them down
  • Implement the created templates within your contact center software
  • Train your team on the usage of templates

Now without further ado, let's dive into step number 1.
 

Make an inventory with all possible situations

templates customer service

Before you can get started with writing and implementing templates for your customer service team, you need to know what kind of templates you need.

To most. it would make sense to write down only the most frequently asked questions because the initial investment might seem high, but we can assure you that when done efficiently the first time, you will save ages of time later on.

We have a few different approaches on gathering all the questions that can possibly be asked:

Go through the archive
Chances are quite big your contact center software is somehow archiving old messages sent to and received by your customers. This makes it rather easy to take a seat behind your PC and start diving through those old emails. It may be worth it to go up to a few weeks back and keep monitoring every once in a while.

Meet your customer service team
If the previous option doesn't work for you, take a pen and paper (or a Word/Excel file) and meet your team members. Ask them questions and dive deep with your questions. Instead of just asking "what kind of emails do you receive", start asking questions about their answer - make sure they think hard so you get all the information you need.

When you've made your inventory, it's time to go to the next step and answer all of the question in your inventory.
 

Answer all possible questions and make sure to write the answers down

answer all questions templates contact center

This might just be the most fun and creative part of this entire guide; answering the questions you found and writing your answers down. Of course, you can use the help of your best team members to ensure all information in the templates is factual and correct. 

Customers do love a personalized approach nowadays (and when didn't they?), but in case of templates it is not always wise to use too much personalization in your messages. Some contact center software, can automatically fill in order numbers, addresses and names - in this case it would be a shame not to use personalization in your messaging.

However, if your software does not offer these types of personalization, we highly recommend to stay away from hyperpersonalization. The chance is big that once your team gets used to working with templates, they forget to change the custom fields and the customer receives an email such as the following:



Even though most customers are aware that nowadays, templates are used by nearly every company, this is definitely a mistake you don't t want to make. So, in short, always check the options of your contact center software before writing your templates.

When you are ready writing your templates, you can advance to the next step and implement the templates within your contact center software.


Implement the created templates within your contact center software

integrate templates contact center software

While we can not go very deep into this step, as it completely depends on the software you work with, we do want to give you some very important tips on the implementation process. We listed them below and we highly recommend you follow through each of the steps to ensure success.

Structure the templates in an orderly fashion
While templates are meant to be time saving, we notice that some companies make it more difficult than necessary for their people. We highly recommend to use a clear structure in which the templates are ordered. You can group them (for example; shipping, returns, complains, payment etc.) so that your team members will have a better time navigating through them.

Test personalized templates before using
As we showed above, it can be quite awkward to sent out a personalized email without personalizing it. Therefore, we highly recommend you to test out all of your templates, before even activating them or making them available for the entire team.

When you're done entering all your templates into your contact center software, it's time for the final step!
 

Train your team on the usage of templates

train your team on templates contact center
If the previous steps (and mainly the last one) are all done in the right way, this should be a fairly easy step to go through. We follow a straightforward plan to go about almost every new process we implement in our teams:
  1. Take your team apart or organize a video call
  2. Explain your reason for implementing or improving templates
  3. Explain the desired effect of this action on the project and the team
  4. Explain how they can use the templates in your contact center software
  5. Ask the team to send you an email straight away when there is a new situation
  6. Ask if anyone in the team has questions, so you can answer them
  7. You're done, close the meeting and look forward to the results!
In most cases, that's how easy it will go. However, we've also had cases where certain team members kept having issues with the efficient use of templates in their work. Because we know this might also happen in your contact center, we've listed some tips to help you engage your entire team!

Most of the times, we noticed that the people having serious issues with templates are either insecure or unwilling. The latter case is for another article (but try to find out why they are unwilling, most of the times it will be insecurity!), but in case of insecurity there is a lot you can do on a short term.

We recommend placing yourself, a team lead or senior agent next to this person for a few hours (or more!) and repeat that every other day until the person feels completely secure with the templates. We've seen an enormous success rate by just dedicating a few hours to give someone the power to do their work better.
 

Conclusion

We hope that today's resource will help you and your team perform better in your journey to provide the best customer experiences possible.

In short, we discussed that in order to efficiently implement templates, you need to follow the following four steps:
  1. Make an inventory or FAQ with all situations that could possibly arise
  2. Answer all possible questions and make sure to write them down
  3. Implement the created templates within your contact center software
  4. Train your team on the usage of templates
We hope that today's post about implementing templates in your customer service department or contact center was a valuable resource to you.

 If you want to read about 5 steps to improve average response times in customer service, click on this link.

If you want to know how you can choose a great BPO company in Bulgaria, click on this link.

If you want to read about 5 reasons why Bulgaria is the best place for BPO, click on this link.