Service is priority number one for the contact center. At least it should be. For those organizations that rely on their contact centers to support the customer after the sale, the level of service that the customer receives can dictate whether or not that customer will make any subsequent purchases from that company.
Unfortunately, many customers are receiving less than excellent customer service and the consequences could be significant. According to recent research, this poor service can inspire 86.3 percent of customers to experience a sharp reduction in the willingness to buy from the company.
Another 98.9 percent will have a negative perception of the company and 91.5 percent will experience a sharp reduction in the likelihood of recommending the company to others. Considering the number of consumers who have had a negative experience with a contact center, drastic changes are needed throughout the industry.
A recent study found that 66 percent of professionals rated their recent customer service call center experience as negative or neutral. Only 34 percent report positive experiences with customer service call centers. If this study is a sound representation overall perception, a majority of call centers are due for a complete overhaul.
The call or contact center’s location can also have an impact on how the consumer rates his or her service experience. Unfortunately, the majority of complaints regarding a negative or neutral experience with a center occurred when the center was located offshore or outsourced in the United States. One study showed this negative to neutral reporting as high as 98 percent.
To fight these negative perceptions, organizations need to focus closely on how their contact centers are performing. It is not enough to set standards. Contact center managers must be able to monitor and measure performance. They must also provide agent feedback, conduct customer surveys and provide more than adequate training.
Golden Rule Insurance made customer service a priority for all their call centers. As a result, the company was able to improve sales conversions by 88 percent. Such an improvement can significantly impact the bottom line, turning the contact center from a cost center to a revenue center.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution that should be implemented into every contact center, making a few things a priority in the center can go a long way towards improving the overall experience for the customer.
For one, strive for first 100 percent call resolution. Second, treat each customer as if they are your only customer. Third, provide continuous training for all agents. Finally, constantly monitor and track interactions for continuous improvement.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC (News - Alert) and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.
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