I really haven’t met anyone who can admit to getting off the phone with a call center agent and saying, “I really enjoyed that.” The primary reason being, that every time a customer calls you up, it is due to some issues or concerns. Moreover, if you mistreat or them try to pitch them unnecessary products and services, it will drive them insane!Customer forms the centerstone for any business which makes it important to absolutely avoid call center bloopers. Especially, when you are working in and working for a solely customer based domain – call centers. Neglecting interactions or not providing great customer experience can lead to severe loss in the average number of returning customers. If an agent manages to improve his quality of service, the business can boom with more happy customers. And who would not want that? This is the golden rule for running any business – having happy customers.
So, what can you do to implement this? You can avoid these call center bloopers, these call center mistakes, and make your customers feel valuable and center of your business.
To begin with, let me just walk you through a short conversation, on how it feels to be on the other side of the phone and get frustrated.
(Scenario: An already frustrated customer calls up to know why his debit card isn’t working. He has been in queue for over 7 minutes now; his call has been transferred to the ‘right department’ too many times now.)
Agent: Good morning! Thank you for calling us today. My name is Molly, how may I help you today?
Customer: Hi, I have been transferred twice now; I hope this is the ‘right department’. My debit card isn’t working; I am stranded in the middle of an important transaction. Can you tell me what’s wrong?
Agent: Sure. What is your account number?
Customer: I don’t remember it! Is there an alternate way?
Agent: Let me check. Would you mind if I place your call on hold for a minute?
(The line goes mute…)
Now, put yourself in this customer’s position. How would you react and feel? Not really good, right? Here’s a detailed account of all the things that might have gone dreadfully wrong:
1. Live Agents, Dead Space
In the scenario above, Molly did not pay much attention to her customer’s query. If she would have, she would have been a bit more sympathetic. Perhaps apologised? Another huge mistake was to place the call on hold without the customer’s consent and and muting the connection. Customers are human beings, they are not bots. They feel every bit of mishandling and mistreating. ‘Dead air’ is a term which is often used while training call center agents. Not responding, long holds, not telling the customer what is taking so long? What are you seeing on the screen? What should be the next step of action etc., all this adds up to customer’s frustration. It is supposed to be a two-way conversation. You must avoid dead air at all cost. This is the worst call center blooper for any person.
2. The Tricky World of IVRs
I remember calling in a contact center sometime back, the first welcome statement was, ‘Listen closely, as our options have changed.’ This made me even more frustrated. Intelligent self service applications means that a customer can navigate easily exactly to the information he needs, get through the ‘right department’, and voila- problem solved. However, in reality most of the IVRs are way too complicated for customers to help themselves. The options are mostly vague and too many for an average caller to pick from. Callers often feel that they still need human assistance and end up waiting for up to 20 minutes before any live agent picks up. Therefore, having a complicated IVR system setup doesn’t necessarily mean you have won the hearts of your customers.
(Side tip- Try and get through the ‘right department’ in your contact center, time it! If it frustrates you, you know where you are severely lacking and what is your call center blooper.)
3. When Agents turn Salesperson
This is the most annoying habit which by default all agents have! I understand that sales are an important part of your job description as you have a target to keep up with. But it is not mandatory to pitch your ‘valuable products and services’ on every call. There needs to be a profound base for you to pitch products and services to your customer. If they are in a hurry or have 10 different problems to be taken care of, you can just be the best agent for them that day. Assist and just walk them through all the guiding procedures and let them experience excellent customer service. While training agents, making them aware about identifying the needs of the customer and then bringing in an option to pitch a product is very critical. Otherwise there will be a whole pool of customers you will lose, eventually.
4. Asking a Customer to Repeat Information
Sometimes, when a customer is frustrated and really paranoid about something, there is a great chance that he might just overwhelm you with his query and resolution in one go. In such scenarios, the best possible tactic you can adopt is be to pay attention. Listen very carefully to what he has to say. Try and make quick notes about his query and the issue he is facing. This will do a lot of good, as you would not have to ask the same questions repeatedly, hence saving both of your time. When an agent asks a customer to ‘repeat’ information, this just highlights his lack of attention in their conversation, which of course no one likes.
5. Talking in a Scripted Manner
The tone and pitch of your voice can convey a lot of your emotions. As, I have mentioned earlier, they are not bots. They seek your compassion, your empathy. Even if there is a strict protocol for you to follow, talk in modulation. Don’t just go about reading a sentence like a machine. Also, using the correct sentence structure, being polite, and making him feel that you really want to provide him the best customer service experience there is, are some parameters to avoid call center bloopers. This way you have more happy customers, which is great for business.
These pointers can just be the tip of the iceberg. If you have any more instances or tips to add, let us know in the comments section. And, for more such insights do visit our website https://www.ameyo.com/.