3rd Party Remote Call Monitoring Feature
Contact Center Quality Starts with Complaint Resolution
What makes a high-quality contact center? Is it their technology? Is it their customer support personnel? While both of these things play an important role, it’s obviously the quality of customer support that makes a great contact center. And what this feature often has at its core is how the contact center handles complaints.
While most companies would like to think their products and services are insured against causing complaints, we unfortunately live in the real world. Complaints will happen. They represent opportunities, either to impress and retain the customer if handled well, or to lose the customer forever if handled poorly.
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So what’s the secret to outstanding complaint handling?
The UK Web site CallCentreHelper recently polled call center managers to build a list of tips for handling complaints. Some of the tips are rather obvious, but it’s amazing how many companies fail to build them into their customer retention process. Some of the most effective methods include the following.
Acknowledge their anger and apologize. Many agents’ knee-jerk reaction, when dealing with angry customers, is to feel like they are under attack. It’s important that they understand this is generally not the case. By simply acknowledging the customers’ anger and offering an apology, they can diffuse most of the anger up front and turn the conversation productive.
Empathize. Instead of getting angry or irritated at the customer, take a minute to imagine his or her frustration. Few people wake up in the morning determined to be displeased with a product or solution. Something happened to cause the customer to contact you and complain.
Stay interested. If a customer suspects an agent is bored by his or her problems and simply filling in a form rather than absorbing and responding to the issue, he or she is likely to become even more angry. It’s important that agents remain engaged with a complaining customer.
Take real action. Listening and empathizing only to shuttle the customer to an ineffective, rote procedure, or offering no action at all, will waste all the effort that’s been put in to calming the customer thus far. Following-through to solve the customer’s problem is the most critical step.
Follow-up. If a customer has registered a complaint to the call center, even if you’ve solved the problem, there is nothing that restores customer confidence faster than a proactive outreach from a company to make sure the problem has been taken care of. This is the kind of action that turns neutral or negative customers into net promoters.
Learn from your mistakes. Ensure that the complaint, its source and its resolution are recorded and shared across the organization. If the complaint is a common one, this should be readily apparent, and the company should be prepared to address the problem at its core. If the call center agent found a particularly satisfactory resolution to the problem, this knowledge should be available to other agents so they don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” each time a customer calls with that problem.
Monitor for quality. Many contact centers find that they can head customer complaints off at the pass if they continually monitor for quality. Call recording coupled with analytics can help, as can third-party remote call monitoring, which can help spot trends that might otherwise not be apparent.
Smart organizations view complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve. When your job is talking to people with issues day after day, it’s easy to start seeing them as nameless, faceless annoyances. Nothing will damage the customer relationship faster than an agent with this attitude. Taking steps to “keep customers human” will pay off with interest.
Edited by Blaise McNamee