Is your call center short-term focused and long-term blind like Wall Street?


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I think more than anything where we fail in customer service, both in the call center and out, is the follow-up. We put great importance on the quick fix, to speedily get the caller off the phone to address the next caller in queue. We’re worried about call volume and first-call resolution and other metrics. The truth is, some problems aren’t resolved quickly, and require additional research to resolve them completely. That’s where we fall short in customer service; following up with the customer to keep them in the loop.

For many companies significant costs are experienced due to poor follow up practices while also damaging the customer experience. To me, it’s like what we see played out on Wall Street today. Most of the effort is placed into meeting my shareholder expectations today (handling the call) while blind to future impacts (profitable, long customer relationships).

We’ve talked recently about the spike in customer product repairs vs. replacements and the resulting call volume to your call center. Have you also thought about the additional agent time required to access and understand how to apply the warranty and repair agreements, the time it takes to follow up about a repair and to communicate the progress (or lack thereof) with a customer?

Your agents are now the perceived diagnostic technician, the legalese information applier, the repair process setter-upper, the person who should be able to provide status updates, and the often times bearer of bad news. That’s okay because their jobs weren’t difficult enough!

You can feel the call complexity expanding in these customer comments:

“After several weeks of hounding my call center agent, I finally got the answer I was dreading – my refund would not be processed as I previously thought. You could have saved me weeks of aggravation by just telling me from the get-go.”

“I finally received a call back about my insurance dispute and thankfully it was in my favor. Honestly I have spent a month going back and forth with your agent Steve trying to get this resolved. I feel like I know the guy at this point since we’ve spent so much time on the phone together!”

“I have been patiently waiting for your repair person to come back after the first visit to verify my problem. Coming back with the wrong part makes me think he’s on drugs. Why do you have such terrible companies servicing your products?”

“Basically, you sent this back to me after claiming to have fixed it. It’s not fixed. It has the same problem and I had to be without it for 2 weeks only to be starting over again. I hate this!”

“The service provider today should have been given the authority to kick this call up to a manager who could have authorized for a free replacement (XYZ product) for me, given the issues she heard today and the trouble that y’all have caused me. The fact that she isn’t tells me there’s a very terrible attitude towards customer service, and policies in place by XYZ. She feels she will be punished for even suggesting that. That speaks volumes to the quality of XYZ, and my willingness to ever use their products or recommend it to somebody else again.”

Happy Monday!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodie Monger
Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM) and a pioneer in business intelligence for the contact center industry. Dr. Jodie's work at CRM focuses on converting unstructured data into structured data for business action. Her research areas include customer experience, speech and operational analytics. Before founding CRM, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.


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