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5 contact centre faux pas

21st Apr 2022
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When COVID hit, it was understandable that services would be affected. Businesses scrambled to manage the shift to remote working, deal with supply chain delays, the need for staff to isolate and much more. As the CEO of a company, I felt these challenges as profoundly as any other business leader. 

At first, customers understood this. But as the pandemic continues into its third year - companies can’t blame COVID for bad service anymore. Unfortunately, customers everywhere are still victims of poor service - and COVID is still getting the blame.

As customer loyalty hinges on delivering great experiences – something needs to change. That’s why I've brought together my top 5 examples of bad contact centre customer service and considered how companies can overcome them. 

1.     Putting customers on hold for too long

In a recent survey by Clutch, 57% of the 501 customers surveyed cited long hold times as the worst customer service faux pas. Whereas annoying hold music (which often accompanies long waits) was ranked at 21%. 

During busy times, long waits are clearly unavoidable. But there’s a better way to deal with them. 

I recommend creating an automated response to let customers know how long they might be waiting or, better still, offering them an easy way to request a call back from a member of your team.

The element of choice is important. If customers are happy to wait – great. But if not, an automated inbound call back ensures they don’t waste time waiting in a queue, thus reducing frustration. 

2.     Being unhelpful or rude

Rude service was the second most popular bugbear, at 52%.

In my experience, unhelpful or rude service is a clear indication that there’s ample room to improve agent training and better manage workloads. A recent Zendesk report also found that only 20% of agents were extremely satisfied with the quality of their training and 15% were satisfied with their overall workload. 

All agents will have good days and bad days. And sometimes, they’ll be too busy to help everyone. However, it can make a big difference to ensure they aren’t overloaded with work and are properly trained to be polite and professional during every customer interaction. 

3.     Unwieldy knowledge-based authentication questions 

According to a Microsoft report, 37% of people in the UK say “having to repeat or provide information multiple times” is the most common frustration when it comes to customer authentication.

Authentication is important, but traditional knowledge-based authentication (KBA) questions are unwieldy, ineffective and frustrating. A much better way to verify your customers’ identity is through CLI authentication, voice biometrics and fraud prevention technology.  

With these passive authentication techniques, you can avoid asking customers to recall memorable information, passwords and pins. This streamlines the customer experience and also significantly reduces the chance of fraud - so it’s a win-win. 

4.     Automated customer service that just doesn’t work

51% of customers report being frustrated by automated phone menus. But at the same time, 63% of customers are happy with customer service from a bot – as long as they can re-route through to a live agent if needed. The key takeaway here is that behind every AI system, there needs to be a human. 

If a customer gets frustrated, or the problem is too complex for a bot to handle, your system needs to be able to hand over to a human agent. It’s the mix of human and machine that’s the recipe for creating great customer service. 

5.     Directing customers to the website

On average, 63% of customers have already tried to visit your website before they call the contact centre. The last thing they want is to be told that the solution to their problem is on the website.

So, I recommend always trying to resolve the customers’ query on the phone and not encouraging them to look elsewhere, as they probably already have.

The key to better service

It doesn’t take a lot to lose business. Small irritations can quickly drive away even the most loyal customers. In 2022, it’s time for companies to take ownership of the service they’re delivering. 

Poor customer service is rife, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple changes, you can satisfy your customers every time they call. 

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