For businesses that are wondering how their contact center stands against the industry’s qualification levels, they should ask themselves this one simple question: Would you call your contact center?
In a blog on CRM.com, Donna Dawson addressed problems that may occur in contact centers, which can oftentimes be blamed on the dramatic increase of the number of calls that they received per day. The increase in mobile phone usage can also be factored into this hypothesis, but no matter what the external reasons are, call centers receive more phone calls than ever before, along with rising levels of caller abandonment.
According to the “Avaya (News - Alert) 2013 Guide: The Collaboration Trends Transforming Your Organization and Industry This Year" podcast report, call abandonment has risen from five percent in 2003 to just over 13 percent in 2010. The call center industry has yet to reach its target of an 85 percent solution rate, as it stands at about 50 percent. Here are some reasons why it is lagging behind.
When it comes to the operational system and technical functions, these are some problems that center centers face:
- The Complicated Menu: Menus should be simple and easy to navigate, despite the fact that there may be many intricate layers to the business. When customers begin to feel confused and stressed out over choosing the wrong menu options or are unable to reach the correct outlet, the call is not as successful and ultimately does more harm than good.
- Being Kept on Hold: Being kept on hold too long makes a customer feel like the business does not care about them or what they have to say, and is the number one reason why customers abandon the call.
- Being Charged for the Call: Customers don’t want be charged by a business when they are seeking for help, especially when automated systems and hold times can be very long.
- The Music: Although choosing music can be tricky, as every customer has their own personal style, this can sometimes help make customers stay on the phone verses angrily hanging up.
Here are some problems your contact center may face with its operators:
- Putting Your Call Center Abroad: This may be a cheap solution, but it is important for businesses to keep in mind that despite the fact that it costs less, the expectations for customer service levels should remain high.
- The Language Problem: After a customer spends their time navigating the automated system to finally reach a human voice, they do not want to face yet another hurdle trying to understand an operator that doesn’t speak the same language. This is very frustrating for the customer, and instead of helping them find a solution, it causes stress.
- Getting Cut Off: After a customer spends time navigating the automated system and overcoming language barriers, getting cut off can send them completely over the edge. This happens sometimes when customers are placed on hold or when operators input the wrong information.
- Badly Logged Calls: Correctly logging calls is important for both the contact center and customer, as it expedites the solving of reoccurring problems. Businesses can also use the call logs to monitor their operators. When a customer calls back a contact center to be told there is no record of their previous call, you can only imagine the frustration of having to start all over again.
After addressing all of these technical and operational issues, businesses might want to perfect their communicational techniques by taking some advice from Dawson, a psychologist specializing in personality and behavior who serves as an advisor to large consumer-oriented companies. According to Dawson, for customers, the operator represents the company, and it is important that they:
- Come to the phone armed with options.
- Give the customer their full name.
- Promise to do something quickly.
- Ask the customer what it would take to meet their needs or requests.
- Ask questions if they don't understand anything and if there is anything that the customer doesn't understand.
- Ensure that your call centers and branches or departments actually talk to each other so that an operator can do what he or she promises.
Hopefully these tricks of the trade can be used to help contact center managers create an overall satisfactory experience for the customer, as well as bring the industry closer to the 85 percent mark.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo