Customer Experience, Easier is Always Better

Ask call center customers to describe what they want from a call center in one word, and you will probably hear the word “easy” more than once.

Many customers are eager to share horror stories of being trapped on hold or having a 15 minute conversation to resolve a simple issue. A satisfied customer is one that can conclude his or her business quickly and resume their regularly scheduled life. This is a goal that should be shared by the call center, as shorter customer engagements are an effective means of reducing wait time.  [more] Think about why customers call, and then try to figure out what will make each of those engagements easier. Start with the basics: the caller should get connected to the appropriate agent with minimal delay, and with as few intermediate steps (“Press 1 if you are calling to place an order”) as possible.

An efficient, courteous agent then brings the call to resolution in a way that provides customer satisfaction. After the basics, think about forecasting and scheduling to ensure you have the right number of agents available – consider using tools and systems to automate workforce management! Questions about a company’s product or service should also be handled by agents with the knowledge and skill to do so. Few things are more frustrating than having to call a second time to get an answer.

The call center agent’s job is inevitably repetitive; take orders, provide help and support, answer questions. But when a customer calls he doesn’t care that an agent has already answered a question like his a dozen times over the last few days. He wants to feel valued by the company – and he should, as he could just as easily take his patronage elsewhere. Thus, the goal of the agent is to deliver an efficient, positive experience without resorting to an assembly line mindset of “move ‘em in, move ‘em out.” Every customer is different and it is up to the agent to provide assurance that the company is appreciative of every order. The balancing act between professionalism and personalization can sometimes be a challenge, but if the agent can blend a brisk pace with a kind word, he or she is certainly on the right track.