This month, I’d like to fill you in on a little known eCommerce industry secret: More and more online retailers are using their site search solutions to improve the efficiencies of their call centers. Why spend thousands of dollars and hours to integrate, update, maintain, and train employees on additional call center software when site search is already a part of your website?

Call centers are often judged on a multitude of KPIs such as average talk time per caller (ATT), calls answered per hour per agent (CPH) and service level (SL), which is the percentage of calls answered within a decided time frame. Thus when a call center receives a service request, team members need to immediately find and order the product for the customer, while providing any other relevant information that is requested, or relevant to the purchase like possible up-sells or cross-sells. Since the products on your site are the ones that your customers see and order, consistent site search and call center experience is important to improve the response time between your customers’ questions and your call agents’ responses.

When your call agents use your site search, you can improve the performance of your call center while increasing customer satisfaction. There are specific features we recommend using in this case, such as SKU jump, partial SKU match, and inventory status notifications.

With SKU jump, call center team members type in the item number (or SKU) and the product page automatically comes up without having to click through search results. By matching the SKU exactly and jumping to the product page, this feature not only speeds up order time but improves the chance that the right item was ordered.

If the customer is looking for a broader range of products, say different sizes, colors, and shapes; partial SKU match allows team members to quickly locate relevant products that fall under the partial SKU logic. Whether it’s a combination of dots, dashes, letters, or numbers, we help customers set up this logic so that their service representatives can easily locate a variety of products with just a few keystrokes.

Inventory status is another necessary feature for call centers since they need to know what’s in stock. It can be very beneficial to show a graphic indicator such as a big red box saying “only a few left” or “limited stock” if the stock is running low, since this call to action encourages customers to order. A more detailed graphic indicator could even show the exact quantity remaining if the stock comes close to a single digit amount.

Some of SLI’s customers also want to see the internal site search usage volume and gauge trends during specific time periods, so we built out an internal site search activity report for them. This may help them judge seasonal trends or see how call centers utilize site search during the least or busiest of times.