Recent research in the UK found that the top three goals of service providers with contact centres across a range of industries are as follows:

  • Retain and attract more customers
  • Reduce costs
  • Create a consistent customer experience

In this research, 92% of the service providers identified the customer experience as very important if not critical to their business success.  But providing a great customer experience through contact centres is not easy.  Most service providers admit that they need to improve their customers’ experience, while only 17% rated themselves as excellent. Not one of the companies surveyed believed that their contact centre was amongst the best in the world. A vast array of issues affects the customer experience.  When it comes to contact centres, customers are repeatedly frustrated if not infuriated with typical contact centre syndromes, leaving customers wishing there was another way they could speak to their service providers, for example:

  • Customers are made to wait in queues for far too long
  • They get bamboozled with complicated automatic call routing systems
  • They are unable to speak to the same person twice if they want to
  • They are often refused access to management when encountering problems
  • Rarely are agents allowed to call them back to provide feedback
  • And they are frequently greeted with somewhat unenthusiastic call centre consultants.

With all the exceptional convergence technology available these days for contact centres, it is surprising for the average customer, loathes the idea of calling a company when the telephone number looks like a call centre number.  And when they know they are going to have to deal with a poor-quality contact centre (a few jump to mind immediately), they wish they weren’t customers of that company.  Clearly, these types of emotions are not going to build strong, positive associations with the service provider in the mind of the customer. A moment ago, I was making an online booking to hire a car for my next business trip.  No where on the website could I find any information explaining what the excess was in the case of an accident.  I duly called the number provided and was left to hang on for ages listening to irritating music and a trying-to-be-friendly voice message that got increasingly nauseating every time I heard the same drivel about the fact that my call is important to them.  I hung up.  I promptly hired a car with another company, whose accident waiver details were clearly displayed on their site. Being a “good customer” though (given the frequency with which I hire cars) I emailed the first company to ask them the questions to which I still had no answers.  Amazingly, their response to my email was quicker than their ability to answer the phone.  My initial surprise quickly turned to disappointment when their email response curtly refused to answer and pointed me to their website.  Do you think they read my email?  It clearly stated that I was unable to find the information I required on their website.  Grrrr!  If this company had any idea of this customer’s lifetime value, I think they might have handled me differently.  Fact remains, even if I was a so-called “low-value” customer, their service processes should have provided a more acceptable customer experience. Guess what?!  Next time I need to hire a car, I will simply use the new car hire company (assuming all goes well with the rest of the rental experience next week). Service providers know that their contact centres are driving away business, yet seemingly they do nothing about it.  I am convinced that the pressure they are under to lower costs, makes them grossly insensitive to the customer’s experience. Yet research shows that inferior customer experiences are playing a significant role in driving up costs.  The more service providers try to contain costs in the contact centre (unintelligently, I might add), the more they create poor customer experiences, the more they drive up costs.  The majority service providers (67%) indicate that they know that poor customer management is driving up costs.  Worse still, they are driving away profits or potential profits.  Maybe if they had an idea of how many customers they are repelling, they would reconsider how they manage costs in their contact centres. There are ways to intelligently contain costs without negatively impacting on the customer experience.  And there are most certainly many ways to create pleasing encounters for their customers through their call centres.  Contact us for more information.