Calling Contact Center Managers: Is it Time for a Customer Service Tune-Up?
Did you know there is a National Customer Service Week? It was 1984 when the International Customer Service Association started Customer Service Week. For those not familiar with this celebration, the purpose of this week is to celebrate the importance of customer service and the people who serve and support customers on a daily basis.
At Five9 we believe customer service should be celebrated all year long! So, I decided to do some mystery calling to call centers over the past week. I called a Fortune 100 bank, a healthcare organization, a utilities company, and three Fortune 100 Telecommunications providers.
What did I learn? Most of these companies could do some fine tuning to their contact centers to improve customer service. Below are some contact center ailments I came across and some suggested tune-ups based on my eight years managing contact centers.
- Agent tone: Most agents sounded like they would rather be anyone else than answering my phone call. They sounded bored, distracted, and not focused.
- TUNE-UP: Coaching, hiring happier agents, and making the work environment more fun with gamification/activities etc.
- Not personable: A few times I tried to engage with the agents to “connect” with them. I wanted to test their people skills were and I got no response at all. Ironically I thought to myself, we haven’t switched to robots in our contact centers yet have we?!
- TUNE-UP: Coaching for listening skils and responding to customer’s questions and comments. Customer service is about connecting with your customers. If they can do this on a call then it’s a success.
- Clarity of call: This one surprised me. When I worked in contact centers 1988 – 1999, it made sense this was a challenge but why now with all the technology is this still an issue? Perhaps it was just the agent messing around with her headset but on one call the call volume went from super loud to super quiet and then the sound went from muffled to clear and back throughout the seven minute call. It was so distracting I only heard 50% of what the agent said. Definitely the most frustrating call I made.
- TUNE-UP: Evaluate all aspects of your technology that impact customer touchpoints and ensure they provide the highest quality results for your customers. Also monitor your agents to ensure they are providing quality calls and do coaching as needed. You’d be surprised how much your customers can hear and that they notice.
- Hold times: The call to the healthcare company was a little odd. I called to update one number in their system and was put on hold for six minutes while the agent updated this one number in my record. When the agent took me off hold, I asked why I was put on hold for six minutes and she ignored my question and told me to make sure to take the survey at the end.
- TUNE-UP: Make sure you are monitoring your agents to prevent agents putting customers on hold unnecessarily for long stretches of time.
- Attitude: Hiring the right agents can make such a difference for your customers’ experience! When I managed contact centers I always tried to hire employees with positive attitudes because you can always teach someone about products and processes but you can’t teach someone how to have a positive attitude.
- TUNE-UP: Hire agents with the right attitude and do continued coaching.
Your customers “hear” a lot more than you probably realize. Do some mystery calling yourself to see how your call center and agents are doing. It’s an eye opener and will help you improve customer service in your call center.