If you travel by air consistently for work and you live in the Midwest or on the East coast, this winter has proven to be extremely frustrating. Ice, snow and blizzard-like conditions have caused a number of cancellations, delays and unhappy customers. For the airline contact center, it’s the perfect test for current processes and call recording can play a part.
Regardless of the reason for the canceled flight, it’s still an inconvenience. The traveler who needs to get home is going to be upset with a canceled flight, even if the cancellation is to ensure his or her safety. As a result, this consumer is likely to share his or her aggravation with the agent on the other end of the line in the contact center. How that agent reacts can make a difference between a happy customer and a lost customer.
But the agent alone is not in complete control of the interaction. Delta customers affected by last week’s storm on the East coast were greeted by warnings of five or more hours of wait time when they called into the airline’s contact center. It didn’t matter if the caller was a frequent flier or the one-time traveler calling for information. Air Canada experienced wait times of two hours and even the “call back” function failed to perform as expected.
It is in times like these that the contact center model is put to the test. Traditional practices that may work just fine in ideal conditions could quickly break down in the wake of a disaster. When this happens, customer perception changes in a split second and loyalty becomes a thing of the past. With call recording, those running these contact centers can identify where the weaknesses exist and how to make improvements so as to avoid such a catastrophe in the future.
One key problem is that many of the contact centers supporting these airlines are located in the same cities where the storms hit. As a result, the contact centers often don’t have enough agents to handle the volume or their power or infrastructure capabilities are limited during the storm. If agents can’t get to work and can’t work from home, the system that works properly when the weather is great starts to break down.
While managers can look at their internal processes to identify their shortfalls in staffing, capacity, technology and more, call recording can provide the information they need about the customer interaction. It can be used to measure the customer experience when interacting with the contact center, their frustration and the source and how the customer was treated in the interaction channels.
This information is key to improving customer handling. While it won’t stop storms or change processes it does offer insight into the customer experience. The contact center that uses that information to make improvements will be better prepared for the next storm that generates hundreds of thousands of calls from unhappy customers, improving the potential that the call will end in satisfaction.