Contact centres can be notorious for offering poor customer experiences. Almost everyone has a story relating to an interaction with a contact centre leaving them frustrated, angry or even more confused about an issue than before they called. While not every negative contact centre interaction can be avoided, it is important to identify the problems in your contact centre to make sure you aren’t perpetuating the stereotype that contact centres are awful and you are doing the best job you can to produce positive customer experiences.
Below are common indicators that you have some work to do to improve your contact centre’s performance so your team can get better at CX.
Agents aren’t engaged
Customers judge a company based on the quality of the interactions they have with staff. With contact centre staff this is a lot more difficult than an in-person customer interaction as it can be hard to display empathy or create an emotional connection over the phone or via chat. If your agents are disengaged and enduring poor quality employee experience, it becomes less likely that your customers will have positive experiences. This can be difficult, especially considering the high attrition rates of contact centre staff. It is essential to create an environment that fosters employee engagement and productivity or customer experiences will suffer. You need your agents to be your best brand ambassadors to encourage the expansion of a happy and loyal customer base.
Long hold times
While hold times are at times unavoidable, a consistent trend towards long hold times in your contact centre is an issue that is imperative to address. Long hold times are an enormous point of frustration for customers and show that you are not running your contact centre efficiently. Being kept on hold for a long period of time can turn a neutral or positive customer very quickly into an angry one, so shorter hold times should be a major priority for improving your contact centre.
There are metrics you should be paying close attention to so that you can monitor this. Average Speed of Answer (ASA) and Average Handle Time (AHT) are important indicators of your contact centre’s performance. If your ASA score is high, your customers are spending too much time waiting to be attended to and some tools or processes probably need to be updated to reduce response times. AHT is the amount of time an agent spends resolving a call from start to finish, including hold time. Your average AHT score should be fairly low to keep hold times to a minimum, but too low and it may mean your agents are rushing through calls, giving poor quality service.
Not closing the loop on bad experiences
You need to be sure that you are following up promptly and efficiently with customers who have had negative experiences with your contact centre. Oftentimes, negative experiences had with contact centres are not actually the agent’s fault, but the result of an external issue or existing policy the customer isn’t happy about. These cannot be avoided. In these cases, a follow up with an apology should suffice. But in the case of an experience that was genuinely caused by a problem with the contact centre, it is imperative that you get in touch with the customer so you can better understand what went wrong. And this should be done within 24 hours of the negative feedback being received. This shows your customers that they are a priority and you are paying close attention to them and trying to correct the poor performance. This can be essential to keeping your customers so that they do not leave you for a competitor in the future.
Frequent customer callbacks
First call resolution (FCR) is frequently cited as the most important contact centre metric. It is the percentage of inbound calls that are resolved on the first attempt by the customer, meaning the customer’s issue is resolved before they hang up or end their chat session. Customer satisfaction and effort are greatly affected if they have to callback or wait for a callback to get their issue resolved. If there is a trend towards calls not being resolved, the problem is in the training of your employees or in the technology they are using. Their job is to serve customers and answer their queries, so if something is prohibiting them from doing this efficiently and successfully, the issue must be identified and addressed immediately.