You’re tracking KPI’s. You’re managing queues and hold times. Your call center seems to be running like a well-oiled machine. Or is it? Here are 7 call center mistakes you don’t realize you’re making.
1. Telling customers to visit the website
From the perspective of agents, management, and the higher-ups of a company, directing customers toward the website makes sense. Many customers’ issues can be resolved there while incurring zero service costs to the company. Plus, customers will be there, meandering around a space designed specifically to lure them into clicking for more goods and services. It’s a win-win, right? Wrong.
Consider where your customer is coming from. A customer only puts themselves through the inconvenience of calling the contact center directly because:
- They already tried the website and couldn’t figure out how to accomplish what they were trying to do, or
- They're more comfortable resolving the issue with a real person on the phone than using the website.
In either case, pushing them towards the website is sure to rub them the wrong way. This push conveys the message that the agent doesn’t have time to deal with the customer one-on-one, or, worse, that the customer is stupid for not being able to figure out how to resolve their own issue using the website.
“At the end of the day, people may not remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel” -Maya Angelou.
2. Asking customers for the same information repeatedly
In a time when information is available at the touch of a screen or scroll of a mouse, it’s unbelievable that we’re still talking about this one.
Whether it’s the same agent asking for the same info, or the customer having to repeat him/herself with every (also annoying) transfer of the call, consider the potential messages this sends to the customer:
- I wasn’t listening
- I was listening, but I didn’t think it was important enough to write down
- I’m too lazy to look up your name in the system, so just tell me again
- This company is inefficient
Not exactly the impression we want to make on customers, is it? Make sure you have a real-time data system in place that prevents this from happening.**9 ways real-time data can improve customer service**
3. Multiple calls and/or transfers to fix one problem
Having to call a company more than once to resolve an issue means waiting on hold more than once, listening to the automated menu more than once, explaining the issue more than once, and catching the agent up on what happened during the previous unsuccessful call(s). That’s a lot of time spent on the inconvenient or inefficient components of the customer experience.
Consider tracking your FCR (first call resolution) rate and making this a key target for you agents.
Make sure agents are well-trained in all aspects and offerings of the company to reduce the need for transfers.
Finally, consider implementing start-to-finish agent ownership over each customer. This way, even if the customer has to be transferred to resolve an issue, they begin and end with the same agent who can ensure that the customer is highly satisfied with their resolution.
This heads off one of the most common call center mistakes, and seals the interaction as friendly, personalized, and successful.
4. Trying to upsell to customers before resolution of an issue is yet complete
With good intentions or directives from management, agents often look for opportunities to upsell new or upgraded products to the customer. But timing is everything. A customer who is still struggling to value and enjoy their last purchase due to yet-unresolved service issues doesn’t want to be pitched to. That’s like a waiter offering a steak to a customer who is choking on a walnut in her salad. This is not only inconsiderate but makes the customer feel like their dollars are more important than their satisfaction.
5. Not owning up to call center mistakes
Agents need to remember that their advantage in providing superb customer care is the human element, and sometimes part of being human is making mistakes. The key to turning a mistake into a still-loyal customer is to bring out this human element.
Admit to the mistake. Apologize. Let the customer talk out their frustration and express sympathy. Don’t dwell on who to blame; rather, focus on fixing the problem. Your customers will thank you for it.
6. Focusing on the wrong metrics
Many companies measure call center agent success based on the number of calls coming through and the end-result customer satisfaction marks. But CRM software offers much more than this in terms of meaningful measurement of contact center success and agent performance. For example, focusing on the number of calls taken by an agent may indicate that he/she keeps the calls short by frequently transferring the customer to another agent. While this number may look good on paper, the reality may be that this agent is actually causing inefficiency in resolving customer issues.
7. Not enough ongoing training for agents
Call centers deal with a high rate of turnover. For this reason, managers are reluctant to spend much money on training and onboarding new agents. But this may be a vicious cycle.
Perhaps the turnover is so high because the onboarding and training are conducted so minimally. Inadequate training can make agents feel unskilled, undervalued, and overwhelmed by the demands of the job. Does that sound like a good foundation for employee loyalty?
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