There’s a Fine Line Between Too Much, Too Little Call Center help

May 27, 2015

Despite your best efforts at making your customer contact center the best it can be, if your customer agents aren’t as up to speed as your technology is, you may be on the path to failure.

That’s the gist of thought from a recent blog post by Chris Lawson, a regular contributor to the inContact blog and managing partner at Lawson Concepts, a company that provides market-leading technology solutions and services for contact centers.

“Those of us who manage contact centers tend to think of the customer experience as something like a short auto trip: You drive from point A to point B, usually taking the shortest path that gets you there quickest,” Lawson says.

But he goes on to explain that just like a road trip, a call center experience can provides all sorts of bumps, detours and unexpected surprises. Having a plan always helps, but even the best of plans can go awry. A military strategist once said, “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy because the most brilliant plan loses touch with reality.” It’s the same with the customer experience, Lawson says.

Studies show that putting customers on hold is what really drops customer satisfaction scores, which may mean your journey is already behind schedule in the first 60 seconds of the trip while an agent frantically searches for a document that addresses a caller’s specific request. “In all likelihood, those legacy applications [which] agents use are not integrated,” Lawson reasons. “After searching, agents are forced to cut, copy and paste data or, worse yet, ask the customer to repeat information.”

The challenge is this: As you add documents and change them – something which happens in most contact centers daily – agents must try to memorize more and more locations. They search shared network drives, web sites, help systems, SharePoint sites, emails and more. “When (if!) they find the right spot, they must then search within it for the right document and skim its content to determine if it holds the answer they need,” he says. “If not, it’s back to square one. This process may repeat again and again, all while the customer is on hold.” And that is what leads to customer dissatisfaction.

Lawson recommends studying the various touch points of information flow, in order to uncover logjams and better serve customers. “You’ll begin to understand how contact center and back-office agents come up with answers—what they go through and whether, indeed, the answers are what they should be. As an objective third party, we can side-step organizational barriers that many times blur symptoms as well as root causes.”

For contact centers trying to stave off customer defection, it’s a problem worth examining and addressing.

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