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How Not to Mislead Your Customers Through a Call Center Labyrinth

Labyrinth's of Love
Labyrinth's of Love
Svilen Milev

Navigating your way out of the customer call center maze

It is every business owner's dream to experience increased call volume, which will then lead to business growth and progress in general. In anticipating an increase of the number of calls to your company, you may find that dedicating more resources to answering the phone may take a toll on your operation. Ringing phones may be music to one's ear, but too many calls can cause problems too.

Enter the call center, a great solution that promises to resolve your customer communication issues. However, most business owners often make the mistake of thinking that their problems are over once they deploy a call center or even outsource one.

Interview a random person on the streets and ask if they have dealt with call center support agents before. If the answer is in the affirmative, then ask them to describe what they want from a call center in one word, and chances are you will most probably hear 9 out of 10 people reply “easy experience”.

How are customers often misled into a call support maze? Most would recount horrible experiences when they were forced to be on hold for 15 minutes or even having hour-long conversations just to resolve a simple issue. This results in frustrated customers and unsightly-sounding curses.

On the other hand, a satisfied customer is defined as one is able to resolve his or her issues quickly without spending unnecessary time cradling the phone for dear life. Call centers should ultimately aim for this because research shows that shorter customer engagements are an effective means of reducing wait time.

List of to-dos to prevent customers from entering a call center labyrinth:

1. Anticipate common customer issues, so once they do call, you'll be better prepared for all eventuality. This also shortens engagements as your agents will be prepared to fulfill their needs.

2. Customers should get connected to the agent in charge as soon as they can. Assign your most knowledgeable agents to deal with frequently asked questions.

3. Make your customer feel valued and appreciated. Your agents can easily do this by being attentive and helping him the best he can. Avoid the assembly line mindset of "move 'em in, move 'em out".

Matt Dixon, one of the authors of The Effortless Experience book, once asked what was more important: wowing customers, or making their experience easy? I would say your best bet would be the latter. Think about it: almost everyone can sell an apple, for example, but not everyone would provide the same level of customer experience.

The cold, hard customer journey facts:

Should you feel compelled to make your customers experience a breeze, here are some facts about a customer's journey through a call center maze:

  • Bad service is more costly than you think. it is the ultimate customer loyalty killer.
  • When you don't plan your customer journey map, you are making their journey painful and confusing.
  • Research shows that 8 out of 10 people who have had bad customer service experience will NOT hesitate to spread negative sentiments.
  • Only 4 out of 10 companies make the effort to map the customer's journey, whereas the rest fail to make use of vital data that could significantly improve customer experience. This vital data could have been utilized to steer customers to the best channels in order to resolve their issues.
  • Less than 1 out of 2 brands took the initiative to identify agents who drive repeat calls. If this is done, solutions can be delivered quickly to reduce the strain of repeated calls and lower unneeded cost.
  • When properly guided and aided through an effortless journey, studies show that customers 37% customers don't mind paying more for a better experience.
  • More than 9 out of 10 customers are delighted to be choose from various customer service channels, and when offered self-help channels, 70% are highly satisfied with this choice and reported better customer experience.
  • Facts show that 4 out of 10 customers who experience better customer service when dealing call centers will be converted into loyal customers, with 94% proclaiming their desire to repurchase.

How can business owners prevent customers from running around in mazes like mindless hamsters?

  1. Put yourself in your customers' shoes and find out the effort a customer exerts or even the pain he or she has to endure when seeking help.
  2. Determine avoidable or highly desirable habits.
  3. . Encourage and train agents to create a low-effort environment. By making customers happy, your call center staff will exert less effort and experience less frustration dealing with dissatisfied customers.
  4. Manage and integrate multiple channels as well as self-service solutions. When empowered to help themselves, customers truly appreciate the effort taken to understand their needs.
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