What do customers want when it comes to customer service when they call a contact centre?

What do customers want when it comes to customer service when they call a contact centre

What they want and what they expect are two very different things. In fact what they want from a contact centre is very similar to what they want from a face to face interaction. They want there to be someone in the business that can help them. Ideally they want it to be the first person they speak to and when it’s not, they want them to be able to introduce them to the right person, in a way that makes the service appear seamless .i.e. it doesn’t matter that the first person couldn’t help because their helpfulness in introducing the customer to someone who could, resolved their query. So what might be different in how a contact centre might deal with a customer?

The table below shows some interesting facts on what customers are looking for when it comes to customer service from a contact centre.

what customers are looking for when it comes to customer service from a contact centre

Source: Avaya Consumer Preference Report 2011

What is clear when it comes to the differences in customer service from face to face experience to that of the contact centre, is that in a face to face situations, customers would never expect to be greeted by a ‘robot’, however, customers expect not to be met by an in individual when they call a contact centre, but more likely an automated voice response service, giving them multiple options to choose from, with the ideal outcome for the contact centre business being the customer self-serving, thus reducing call volumes through to staff and reducing the transaction time for the customer. That is if the customer can manage to navigate through the options maze and arrive at the destination they need. Not always the easiest of journeys to take i’m sure you’ll agree!

That’s the expectation, but what is it that customers want?

Studies show that the majority of customers want to be able to contact businesses by telephone to service their needs and with that in mind it’s even more important that the service they receive through those interactions is of the highest standard

Studies show that the majority of customers want to be able to contact businesses by telephone

Source: Avaya Consumer Preference Report 2011

Of course some customers are happy to self-serve, however, statistics show that most customers, when they call a contact centre want to speak to someone. They want that someone to be knowledgeable, have easy access to their details and the information needed to resolve their enquiry and ideally be the first and only person they need to speak to in order to get their query resolved. They don’t want to be pushed from pillar to post, department to department in order to get an answer. This can sometimes to be referred to as ‘One Voice’ resolution.

This is the ideal and some contact centres manage to deliver that for at least some of their services. They can do this in a couple of ways. The first is by having systems and processes in place which support the end to end completion of a single transaction within one call. This is where the adviser has all of the necessary skills, knowledge and systems at their disposal to be able to complete all aspects of a transaction from investigation to resolution and action, without the need to handoff the call to a colleague.

Where the contact centre supports a complex business, then a multiskilling approach is sometimes adopted. This means that customers can ask about more than one product or service within a single call and the adviser has the ability to switch between the topics and answer queries on both. Of course it’s not always possible to have the expertise either located within one centre or even one department or even the systems to support the numbers of staff associated with some contact centre operations.

Where this one touch resolution can’t be delivered by a single individual then the contact centre needs to make the transition from one individual to another as seamless as possible. The customer needs to have complete faith that no matter who they’re handed over to, they’re the person who’ll be able to help them and to sort out their query.

So how can contact centres deliver the seamless service that customers’ desire? One way is to ensure that any handover from one member of staff to another is managed in a way that involves the customer and gives the same feel that a face to face staff handover would give them. So how can they do it?

The most conventional way is through a process, sometimes referred to as an ‘open call transfer’. So what is an open call transfer? This is where the transition from one adviser to another either in whole or part, involves the customer being ‘in on’ the call transfer. They get to hear what one adviser says to the other and involves them in a way that makes sure that they know that all of the relevant information they’ve already given is passed over to the new adviser and gives them the opportunity to fill any gaps or clarify any questions that the second adviser may have. This mirrors the interaction a customer would experience in a face to face situation.

When customers are blindly transferred from one department to another, often having to repeat everything they’ve already told someone, this leads to dissatisfaction and frustration and has a detrimental effect on the customer experience and the sometimes bad press associated with contact centre service.

So in conclusion, contact centres can deliver a seamless, one voice service, through careful systems and processes regardless of whether they deliver it through one individual adviser or multiple. Businesses can make sure that staff have the right skills and knowledge, and that they provide them with the necessary systems to provide their customers’ with this seamless service and enhanced customer experience that can almost mirror that of a face to face interaction and match the customers high expectations of any service situation they find themselves in.

Michelle Head shotMichelle Holmes is a Director of New Chapter Learning Ltd, a Customer Experience and Training consultancy based in the UK. Having spent 26 years in banking she decided to use her expertise in Training and Customer Service to set up her own training consultancy in 2012.

Post Views: 574