Lousy customer service is one of the plagues of modern existence. It involves spending endless hours each year, waiting on hold, or being transferred from department to department or individual to individual. Chances are, just when you think your problem has been solved, next month’s bill arrives and there it is: the same mistake. So you pick up the phone again, call again, and vow never to do business with that company in the future.
Imagine the money that is lost due to lousy customer service: lost sales today, lost sales tomorrow and lost sales from other potential customers due to bad word-of-mouth. But it’s not only that; it’s the money contact centers spend fruitlessly on bad interactions, wasting money on ineffective agents and unhelpful solutions; it’s the time wasted by customers who must call back again and again. Could anyone put a price tag (News - Alert) on those losses?
As it turns out, someone can. A recent infographic published by UK-based contact center solutions provider NewVoiceMedia (News - Alert) estimates that poor customer service results in $41 billion (yes, “billion” with a “b”) lost each year in the U.S. alone. Why so high?
We are becoming increasingly demanding as customers. The research behind the infographic found that 93 percent of us will take action after a bad customer service experience, such as broadcasting our displeasure on social media, writing a bad online review or switching to a competitor. In the broadcasting department, younger consumers are even more vociferous: 59 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds report that they regularly share bad experiences on social media. Of all customers, 44 percent report taking their business somewhere else.
The situation is dire. Any company regularly handing out bad or even just lackluster customer experiences does so at its peril. Any contact center organization that doesn’t have “improve the customer experience” on the top of its to-do list should put it there, immediately.
Of course, bringing about quality isn’t something that can be done overnight. Companies must generally completely overhaul how they do business. They must ensure their agents are better trained, ensure they have true multichannel integration (since customers today use multiple channels to contact companies), improve their knowledge bases and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions so agents have the right information, and improve call routing so the right agents are taking customer calls at the right time.
Regardless of how a company improves its customer service quality, there is one capability that runs at the heart of all contact centers: call monitoring. Successful customer support organizations record calls and use analytics solutions to spot pain points. They evaluate their agents on a regular basis to correct problems and uncover areas that need remedial training. Many of them even employ third-party call monitoring services to keep a close eye on quality.
Organizations such as BPA Quality sample recorded or live calls and measure the customer interaction based on either the client’s standards, or standards developed by BPA Quality. These observations are produced as actionable scoring and feedback to agents and supervisors, feedback that the contact center can use to positively affect the performance of agents on the front lines of the call center and improve overall quality, finding small problems before they become large problems.
After all, even if you choose to ignore the problems in your customer support center, your customers certainly won’t.