Surprise: Callers Would Rather Solve Their Own Problems

Surprise: Callers Would Rather Solve Their Own Problems

January 19, 2016

With every New Year comes not only a resetting of the calendar, but a resetting of company priorities as well. Many in the enterprise use the New Year as a time to take stock of where they are and where they’re going. Contact centers are no exception.

In a recent piece posted on CustomerThink — a global online community of business leaders striving to create profitable customer-centric enterprises – writer Jeff Toister examined call centers based on a recent study from consulting firm Strategic Contact.

Toister looked at the survey results and noted that all the challenges found by those working in contact centers were inter-related. The challenges, broken down by percentages of respondents were:

  • A high attrition rate (24.19 percent):
  • Lack of cross-departmental collaboration (19.13 percent);
  • Self-service issues (18.41 percent); and
  • Level of service (18.41 percent).

“Look closely and you’ll see all of these issues are interconnected,” Toister noted. “Addressing them requires a holistic approach.”

He then breaks down the issues one at a time, and offers some insights for fixing them.

Attrition: “Many contact centers make the mistake of trying to fix attrition by focusing on motivation,” he notes. “[But] smart contact centers address the root cause. What contact center agents really want is to find meaning in their work. They want to solve problems and help customers.”

Collaboration: “Many of the issues that contact center agents are asked to resolve are out of their control,” Toister says. “They must rely on other departments to help make things right.” Once you get people collaborating, problem-solving becomes a joint effort.

Insufficient Self-Service: It’s understood that customers would rather solve their own problems, but not every center is set up to help them do so. “Unfortunately, contact centers usually need to rely on other departments to help them beef up their self-service offers,” he writes. That’s where problems begin.

Service Levels: This problem feeds on itself. “High attrition leaves contact centers short-staffed, which in turn leads to longer wait times,” Toister says. “Poor cross-departmental cooperation allows chronic problems to go unsolved. This generates more contacts, especially when customers aren’t able to get self-service.” And then the problem grows.

They say that recognizing the problem is half the solution. Those in the industry may need to take a hard look at their business and see where they’re falling short. The first step toward solving a problem is admitting you have one.

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