Call center workflows can help you automate tasks, free up your agents’ time, stay financially lean, and ensure that customer inquiries are handled on time. 

However useful they may be, though, you don’t need a million workflows to get your call center going. Just the right ones.

Pro-Tips for Implementing the (Free) Workflows Below

First and foremost, you can grab any of the frameworks below as they are and start using them. However, every business is different, and yours will likely show particularities you need to integrate into your workflows. Take a bit of time to review and adjust each template.

One of the main reasons workflows are so helpful is because they connect different departments. Don’t limit them to just your Customer Care team, for instance.

Building a workflow for a call center means you have to align multiple platforms to ensure seamless communication with customers. Start by identifying your customer’s preferred platforms, whether it be traditional phone calls, emails, social media, or live chat. Then integrate them together so information flows freely across all touchpoints. This helps you make sure all customer communications are managed and tracked from one place.

Documenting everything is crucial, even the smallest changes. Without taking notes on what you’re doing or the changes you’re making to a workflow, you’re left with zero traceability and continuity. 

Make sure your entire team is trained, and regularly ask for their feedback. You want to fine-tune your processes to make sure they are up to date with customer demands, business changes, and shifts external to your business.

A mistake to avoid when using call center workflows is being too rigid. Your workflows should be a blueprint, not a robotic template. At the end of the day, every customer interaction is unique, and your team should know how to handle that.

Steal-Worthy Call Center Workflow Frameworks

If you’re not sure where to begin when building your call center workflows, here are some popular templates to steal, adjust, and use as you please.

Standard Inbound Call

A standard inbound call workflow gives your agents a framework to use when approaching incoming customer inquiries. This type of workflow saves time and can be a great way to cut costs and boost the efficiency of your team.

Here’s what a typical inbound call workflow looks like:

  • The customer’s call is routed to the right department or agent, based on their input. For instance, they pressed a specific button when accessing the call center menu over the phone or spoke to your AI assistant about their inquiry.
  • The agent says their name, greets the caller, and asks how they can help.
  • The agent listens to the customer’s issue and asks any clarifying questions about when the problem occurred or what the intended result may be.
  • The agent then restates the problem in a clear, concise, and compelling way.
  • If the agent is able to provide a solution, they explain every step of the way.
  • If the agent cannot provide a solution on the spot, they redirect the caller to the right department or create a written ticket to address the issue as soon as possible. In this case, the agent reassures the customer that their problem will be fixed and provides a timeline.
  • The agent asks the customer if they can help with anything else. 
  • If the customer confirms, the workflow starts again. 
  • If the customer says they don’t have any further questions, the agent thanks them for the call and wishes them a good day. 
  • If you have implemented a feedback system, the agent mentions it and tells the customer they will receive a phone call or a quick email/SMS survey to rate their experience during the call.

Standard Outbound Call

A standard outbound call is usually related to call center sales or upselling and cross-selling. However, it can also come up if your business has further questions to ask a customer before providing a service or delivering a product. 

For this framework, we will build an outbound call workflow for an upsell.

  • The agent selects and calls the number of a customer who has recently made a purchase.
  • The agent introduces themselves and states the company they work for and the reason for their call.
  • They say they noticed the customer purchased X product in the last couple of weeks/months and ask if they’d be interested in an upgrade at a special price.
  • If the customer says they’re interested, the agent proceeds to explain the offer, the costs, and the expected timeline for delivery.
  • If the customer says they’re not interested, the agent proceeds to elaborate on the advantages of an upgrade, focusing very briefly on the benefits.
  • If the customer says they’re interested, the agent goes on to explain the offer, costs, and expectations.
  • If they are not interested, the agent thanks them for their time and wishes them a good day.

Technical Troubleshooting for a Physical Product

Technical call centers know how difficult it can be to fix someone’s problem from a distance. Technical troubleshooting via phone or instant chat can save your company significant sums of money you’d otherwise pay to send a technician. 

A technical troubleshooting workflow might look like this:

  • The customer calls and is routed to the right department or agent, according to their menu selection or the interaction they had with the voice/chat assistant.
  • The agent greets them, introduces them, and asks about their problem.
  • The customer relays their issue.
  • The agent asks clarifying questions to make sure they understood the issue.
  • If they spot a solution, the agent explains it to the customer, step by step, asking the customer for confirmation every step of the way. 
  • If no remote solution exists, the agent creates a ticket and makes an appointment for a technician to visit the customer’s physical location.

Customer Complaints

When someone contacts your call center because they are dissatisfied with your product or service, they are not looking for soothing words and empty promises. They want a solution, and they want it now. Ensuring customer complaints are aptly addressed helps you increase customer retention and loyalty, thus boosting your business’s bottom line.

A customer complaint workflow would look like this:

  • The angry customer is routed to the right department or agent, based on their menu selection or the interaction they had with the voice/chat assistant.
  • The agent greets them and introduces themselves, trying to be as empathetic as possible.
  • The customer talks about their issue.
  • The agent asks further clarifying questions.
  • The customer provides extra details.
  • The agent apologizes for the inconvenience and ensures the customer that their issue will be addressed in a timely manner. They then proceed to explain the solution, how long it takes, and how the customer will be informed of the resolution.
  • The agent follows up to make sure everything is resolved and asks for feedback on their experience with the call center. They also mention any feedback system that may be in place, such as a survey or a follow-up call, email, or SMS.

By proactively addressing and resolving customer complaints, agents can turn an initially negative experience into a positive one. Who knows, you might even convince the customer to recommend your products or services to their peers.

Late Payment Workflow

Debt collection can be an uncomfortable task, but it is a necessary part of running a business. If you don’t follow up with late payers, you risk running out of cash flow, churning customers, and creating a bad reputation for your business.

A late payment workflow typically looks like this:

  • The agent calls the customer, introduces themselves, and explains, in a clear and calm way, the reason for their call. They then proceed to ask the customer if they have been having bank/credit card issues or if there is any unique problem that prevented them from making the payment.
  • The customer explains their situation.
  • The agent shows empathy and offers to find a solution together with the customer. They could say something like “I am really sorry you have been experiencing banking issues. We want to help you make sure you keep having access to your services. Would postponing the payment for a week help in any way?”
  • The customer then confirms if they agree to the solution.
  • The agent makes a note and takes all measures necessary to ensure the customer continues to receive their services and a follow-up call is made if they don’t make the payment by the agreed date.
  • The agent thanks the customer and introduces any potential feedback system you have implemented. For instance, they could tell the customer they will be called or messaged within 24 hours to express their opinion about the interaction.

How to Create Your Own Call Center Workflows (5 Steps)

The workflows mentioned above only scratch the surface of what kind of situations your call center might handle. Here are the steps you need to take if you don’t find an appropriate blueprint among the ones we mentioned and need to build your own workflow from scratch.

Identify the Issue

One of the best ways to identify common issues, complaints, or inquiries is by having your agents document every interaction and mark them with specific tags. After a while, you’ll identify recurring patterns which can determine the workflows that need to be put in place.

Keep in mind that many workflows will not originate from the call center department. They could belong to Sales, Marketing, or Operations. To spot these situations, you must regularly check in with department leaders, listen to their problems, take notes, and identify any potential patterns your call center team should build a workflow for.

Write Down an Interaction Pattern

Listen or read to as many customer interactions within a specific situation as possible. Identify common elements and jot them down. 

These groups of common interactions will serve as a skeleton when you build your workflow, as they will be the steps an agent needs to take in a specific situation.

Write a Step-by-Step Process for the Best-Case Scenario

Identify potential best-case scenarios among all your transcripts and recordings. Ask yourself how a situation can best be resolved if the customer cooperates and the issue is easy to address remotely. 

Write a step-by-step process to explain how this happens and what the agent needs to do at each point.

Write a Step-by-Step Process for the Worst-Case Scenario

Unfortunately, not every customer interaction is a best-case scenario. In fact, many of them are likely to take a turn for the worse. The customer might be too angry, the solution might not be easy or quick, or your systems might not be able to address it remotely. 

For these situations, identify worst-case scenario recordings and transcripts and take note of everything that went wrong, as well as how the agent could have addressed it better. Include all of these notes in your records and create scripts your agents can fall back on if customer interactions don’t go as planned.

Follow the Right Metrics to Ensure Successful Implementation

What’s the best way to know if your workflows actually work? Following the right metrics. Some of the most important call center metrics to track when assessing the efficiency of a workflow include:

  • First Call Resolution Rate
  • Average Handling or Talk Time
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Components of Effective Call Center Workflows

Whether you need to adapt an existing template or build your own from scratch, you should be aware of the things that all call center workflows share. Some are:

  • Make sure you document clear steps that outline what an agent needs to do at every stage of the interaction.
  • Include bits of information in the script that they can use in various situations and turns in a customer interaction
  • Make each workflow digestible at a glance. The last thing a stressed agent needs is to go through a 10-page process when talking with an angry customer.
  • Leave no room for mistakes, errors, and misinterpretations.
  • Test each workflow in real-life scenarios, don’t just leave them on paper and toss them at your agents. 
  • Continuously review and improve your workflows as new patterns emerge or old ones change. This will ensure that your call center remains effective in handling customer interactions.

Done right, call center workflows can be life-saving. Make sure you don’t overdo it, though. You don’t need a workflow for every single situation. Instead, focus on the most common ones, particularly the more problematic situations. 

The most helpful workflows are those that help your team resolve issues without added stress and confusion. The best call center workflow management happens when you’re empathetic with both customers and agents. All the hard work will pay off when you see happier customers who are less likely to churn and more likely to recommend you to friends.