The first words on the telephone were spoken in 1876 and the first call centre opened in the UK in 1965. That is quite a while ago now and we’ve learned a lot since then! Yet for all those years of experience, there are still mistakes being made in Contact Centres worldwide that will be costing you customers without evening realising.
1. Too much repetition
Everyone has had this experience at one time. You call up about an issue and are told you need to be transferred to another department – where you have to repeat your whole problem all over again. Research from NewVoiceMedia has shown that 39% of customers are put off by having to repeat information to multiple agents, and a third would take their business elsewhere for that very reason.
So, if you’re asking for their Mothers Maiden name, security pin or post code as qualifying information – surely there is also somewhere within that profile that agents could note down what the customer is calling about? That way the next agent they speak to will have that record ready and the customer won’t have to keep telling the same story over and over again.
2. Passing it on
Being passed around on the phone from agent to agent is frustrating and time consuming for any customer. Your frontline staff need to take ownership every call they receive and try and sort the issue out without transferring it to someone else. If you are finding your agents are repeatedly failing to provide FCR, perhaps you need to take a look at your processes or your introduction training?
A poorly trained agent will find it very hard to solve a customer’s problem as the simply haven’t been given the tools to do so. Equally an agent could have the best training available but if you have complicated or convoluted scripts and processes, you’re actually putting your own agent in the position of having to potentially irritate the customer – just to follow a process.
3. Measuring the wrong KPI’s
Measuring your staff on the wrong things, such as individual call times instead of level of service, will affect how they interact with customers. No one is going to be satisfied with an interaction where they can tell they are being rushed off the phone – and what is worth more to you? Handling 200 slightly irritated callers in a day who may consider leaving? Or 100 satisfied customers who have the potential to become advocates for your company?
Have a think about what KPI’s are important to both your business and the customer – such as site wide average call time, which will tell you more about your companies processes and training as a whole, or average customer wait time before someone speaks to them.
4. No follow up training
After an agent has their initial introduction training, is it really important they receive regular, updated training. It is the task of Contact Centre Managers to continue ongoing training and ensure their staff are equipped to tackle the new scenarios they face. If you’re worried about people being away from the phones, utilise our last point and start measuring at what times you get have the highest and lowest density of calls. That way, you can schedule training in quieter times and train staff in groups – so your customers won’t suffer while you’re trying to make improvements.
5. Reacting too slowly
Our last issue/pet-peeve is not having a process in place to follow up on successes and failures quickly and effectively. If you only ever review agent progress once a month or every quarter and expect them to remember a specific interaction from 30 days ago – it becomes much harder for staff to learn from individual interactions.
The easiest way to do this is get either a piece of software or process in place, so that when a customer rates a call or agent particular low or high – your Managers are notified and deal with the interaction immediately.