Contact center is the front line for handling customer inquiries. Organizations must understand the need and importance of contact centers in order to strategize their business growth. Contact centers contribute to the company’s goals in many valuable ways, most notably in reinforcing the company’s brand and in increasing customer loyalty. It is necessary that they deliver the best possible customer experience to minimize the customer churn.
For contact centers to work efficiently, agents need to manage numerous calls each day and at the same time maintain the quality of conversations with customers. Contact center managers keep on measuring the performance of the agents by assessing their KPI’s to optimize the service level. But is this sufficient for maintaining healthy relationship with customers? Is call monitoring the only technique for improving the agent's performance? Here the agent's performance is directly linked to the customer’s expectations. So are you taking good care of your customers? Are you answering to their queries quickly and wisely? Do you really know what your customers want and what goes wrong during the call that makes them furiated?
Great customer experience is directly related to practices followed by contact center. A recent study showed that “ most consumers (96%) won’t complain outright to the company when they’ve had a bad experience, but 91% will simply leave and never return”. So always ensure that the service level is maintained by avoiding the worst practices that annoys your customer.
So, let us have a close look at few practices that you should avoid as a contact center agent:
Long waiting time: Asking your customers to wait unnecessarily can make them unhappy. Waiting time on customer service calls not only creates a poor impression of your company but could also be one of the reason that your customers hang up and never call back. Studies show that “60% of customers feel that waiting on hold for even one minute is too long”. Always remember that your customer’s time is valuable, therefore to avoid bad customer experience it is necessary to reduce the time of hold on each call. In order to manage waiting time, organizations should have a proper call routing software that lands the call to the correct agent and also an appropriate- sized staff to manage the huge amount of call volume. Call routing ensures that the callers gets connected to the right person at the right time in an efficient manner. So focus on your customers and avoid shoddy services via long waiting time.
Asking customers to repeat their query: Each time a Customer calls, they are left with an unanswered query by the agents which results in irritation as they have to repeat the same information several times. Companies rarely consider the negative effect of asking customers to repeat their query and are instead more engaged in recording calls for coaching and monitoring purposes. Companies should understand the value of each customer. Research shows that “72% of people blamed bad customer service interaction on having to explain their problem to multiple people”. Do remember that the kind of service you provide now will have a profound impact on your future business growth.
Not being proactive and friendly: Creating a good customer experience is all about building relationship and earning long term loyalty. Customer’s expectations keep on rising, hence companies need to develop advanced strategies and implement innovative new technologies in order to deliver proactive customer service. By using CRM solutions which captures the complete information of each call, agents can know well in advance about their customers and can relatively address them in a friendly manner. This will help them in strengthening and expanding customer relationships through a proactive approach.
Calling customers who do not prefer voice contact: Different customers have different opinions and prefer to have number of options when they get associated with a brand. Some customers like the traditional voice calls while others seek solutions through chats and social media support (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). According to Harris Group “64% of consumers say that they would rather text than use voice to contact customer service”. Social media customer support is becoming the most trending among the modern customers as they have the power to voice their opinion. Therefore don’t call customers who do not prefer voice chat. This will help in creating a positive impact of your company and won’t leave customers irritated.
Calling customers even when self-service was an option: In today’s digital world, customers like to play smart. Customers who feel they are treated as individuals are more satisfied with their experience and more inclined to remain loyal. Self-service makes it possible to provide awesome customer experience that has many attributes of personal interactions thus providing the speed and cost benefits. A survey report from IBM Retail Research showed that “72% of consumers surveyed prefer self-service over picking up the phone. As many as 91% would use self-service applications if they were available.” So don’t annoy your customers by calling them continuously instead create a win-win situation by enabling them with a self-service option.
Not using supportive phrases: There is a fine line between following up and recklessly wobbling a customer to dwell upon his bad mood. Asking questions to the customers that are not related to the conversation can make them furiated. Customers always seek for First call resolution but there might be a situation where the call has been routed to the wrong agent. In such a situation agents should avoid few questions or phrases like:
- “How else can I help you today?”
- “Is there anything else wrong?”
- “That’s not my Department”
- “You will have to speak with…Can I transfer your call?”
- “Can you please give me your info again?”
- “That’s the Manufacturer’s Responsibility”
- “Just go to our Website”
Ending the call before query is resolved: First call resolution is difficult but not tough to achieve. Ending the customer call before resolving the query could be very annoying. There might be a situation where the agent may not be able to answer the query well. Studies show that “agents lose about 14% of their day searching for answers through interfaces that are not intuitive and user-friendly”. In this case providing agents with a unified desktop will help the agents in accessing process-critical tools and mission-critical applications to expedite the process of problem resolution. Providing agents with a single-point of access to the necessary tools and information makes it easier for them to proactively prepare themselves for handling queries well.