EPISODE 14

5 Most Common Call Center Service Frustrations

 

Episode details

You don’t need an MBA to know that unhappy customers are bad news bears. Yeah, there are all the stats that tell you…but I mean, just conceptually, if your customers aren’t happy,…

Episode details

You don’t need an MBA to know that unhappy customers are bad news bears. Yeah, there are all the stats that tell you…but I mean, just conceptually, if your customers aren’t happy, you don’t have a business.

So when it comes to preventing customer frustration—particularly frustration with your contact center—you really need to get it right. Because, most  consumers will leave after one—yep, just one—poor experience.

And fixing it all starts with knowing exactly what sets your customers off.

This episode was adapted from the article, “5 Causes of Customer Frustration with Call Center Service (and How to Fix Them).

 

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You don’t need an MBA to know that unhappy customers are bad news bears. Yeah, there are all the stats that tell you…but I mean, just conceptually, if your customers aren’t happy, you don’t have a business.

So when it comes to preventing customer frustration (particularly frustration with your contact center) you really need to get it right. Because, according to Zendesk, 60% of consumers will leave after one—yep, just one—poor experience.

And fixing it all starts with knowing exactly what sets your customers off.

Intro

Welcome to Snackable CX where we break down our best resources into bite sized guidance on how to stand out and be known for your customer experience. I’m Sam Salerno, here from Mindful, the best in class, total experience solution that aims to add kindness to your tech stack.

We talk about it all the time, but I wanna start by painting a clear picture of just how bad unhappy customers are for business. I promise I’m really not a doom and gloom guy, but the numbers I found and their implications for businesses are NUTS, so bear with me here.

In 2021, Qualtrics ran a study that found that organizations risk losing 9.5% of their revenue on account of poor customer experience and service — mainly because 53% of consumers reported cutting back on spending with a company (or just taking their money elsewhere altogether) when businesses get customer service wrong. When you do the complicated math and tally it up, you’ll find unhappy customers cost businesses — globally — over $4.5 trillion PER YEAR.

And that’s not counting the long-term negative impact of “reputation hit jobs” from frustrated customers — 89% of whom publicly chatter about their negative experiences with family, friends, and the world at large. Skimp on providing quality customer service in your contact center, and you’re not just digging a hole for yourself now, but also in the future.

It’s bleak. It’s ugly. BUT! it’s fixable. You just gotta know what creates that contact center frustration in the first place.

Contact center frustration #1: Confusing phone tree menu options.

Customers have a…hmmm, how should I put it?…strained relationship with IVR phone trees. When done well, phone trees can be incredibly helpful to the customer as well as the business. When executed poorly, they’re the bane of a customer’s existence.

Confusing loops, repeating menu options, dead ends…when you’ve created an IVR purgatory, no amount of praying is going to absolve you from your customer’s wrath.

A Vonage survey found that 61% of customers consider IVRs in general to be a poor experience — leading to frustration, stress, and even outright anger. Topping the list of IVR frustrations, we’ve got missing menu options, irrelevant menu options, and overly long menu options.

Fixing a bloated, complicated IVR takes some finessing, but one way to go about it is to go through your IVR flow with someone who doesn’t work for your organization and note any areas where they experience friction or lack of clarity. Combine options where needed, and cut out ones that never get used. Or you could join the revolution and use a digital IVR or click-to-call with intent that allows customers to skip the phone tree by scheduling online. We see this not only removing frustration and lowering the handle time from venting, but it also helps workforce managers better staff their contact centers, reduce overhead from tolls, and nearly eliminate hold times.

Which just so happens to segue into our second contact center frustration. Drum roll please…

The second frustration is extended hold times.

Let’s be real— The majority of us try to find an answer or solution on our own before we call a customer service channel. So when we’re greeted by, one, a confusing IVR, and then two, hold music, it’s no wonder our blood starts to boil as the seconds tick by.

57% of customers say long hold times are their number one source of frustration when calling a business. Not only that, but as their hold time increases, so does their chance of abandoning the call and becoming a repeat caller — costing contact centers extra time and resources.

The best fix for long hold times is a virtual queue and callback solution. Rather than sit with the phone on — ‘cause we all love that feeling when you’ve got speakerphone on and you jump in a panic every time an automated message plays — yeah, rather than that, a virtual queue lets callers keep their spot in line and get back to their day until a rep can call them back.

Active waiting time then turns into passive waiting time, and data from our clients shows that callers are 100% more tolerant of wait times in a virtual queue than they are in a traditional queue. It’s a no-brainer that relieves frustrations both for customers and agents.

Frustration point #3: Poor agent training.

Nothing is more frustrating than finally getting through to a real human only to discover they can’t help you.

Poorly trained agents lead to longer handle times, lower first contact resolution metrics, and all-around angrier customers.

Empathy training and quick resolution training need to take a front seat. Empathy training helps agents build genuine, personal connections with callers, and quick resolution training…pretty self-explanatory…gives agents the skills they need so they can quickly give customers what they need.

Now, I know training is tough right now because turnover is the worst it’s ever been. So, to that, I’ll refer back to the first two points of this episode, because implementing the right solutions to smooth out customer frustration before the call even starts means agents don’t have to deal with angry, rushed customers in the first place. Your agents might be superheroes, but when they’re constantly used as human punching bags because of crappy IVRs and long hold times, burnout and attrition won’t be queuing for long.

Equip your agents with the training AND the tools they need to succeed, and both they AND your customers will thank you for it.

Frustration point #4: Poor audio quality.

It’s the classic, “Can you hear me now” commercial from Verizon. If your audio quality is subpar and your callers have to strain to hear or understand your agents, you’re guaranteed to face customer frustration.

Voice Over IP systems are simple to set up and operate, but they’re notorious for delivering poor, jittery sounding audio and latency problems if they aren’t fine tuned. Add in thousands of calls and a laggy network, and your VoIP system can result in echoes, lag, and flat out dropped calls.

Sound quality frustrations require a little more of a technical fix.

Dedicated VoIP routers prioritize voice calls over other data. Improved internet connections can smooth out voice data. And jitter buffers can delay phone traffic for 30-200 milliseconds before sending the call to your agent — giving voice data a split second longer to show up in the correct order for clearer audio on both sides of the call.

And last one, frustration point #5: Unnecessary call transfers.

We get it: call transfers are inevitable in the contact center. If you’ve found a superhuman agent who can answer every possible question or solve any problem a customer throws their way…let me know because they definitely deserve their own episode.

Fixing unnecessary call transfers is pretty straightforward. You need to make sure callers are being routed to the right department or agent the first time around. This requires a clean IVR flow—one either over the phone or through a digital click-to-call solution — AND an intelligent routing system that makes sure the call ends up with the next available, qualified agent.

But transfers are mostly hated because of having to repeat information. And for this, you gotta have a connector between digital and voice.

So if a customer starts their journey on your website, interacts with your chatbot, then calls your business, you need to have a solution that collects this information, carries it across channels, and delivers a nice little screen pop to the agent so they can jump in already knowing exactly what the customer needs.

Addressing friction points in the customer journey isn’t easy, but the payoff is massive. A Forrester report found that when companies take steps to make customers feel appreciated, 76% of customers said they’ll keep their business with a brand, 80% said they’d spend more with the brand, and 87% said they’d recommend the brand to others.

Makes nipping customer frustration in the bud really seem like a no-brainer. But if you’re finding yourself stuck in creating winning experiences for customers in your contact center, give us a shout. Our experts would love to help you get your contact center running at a frustration-crushing pace.

Nutritional Facts

This episode has been adapted from the article “5 Causes of Customer Service Frustration in the Contact Center (And How to Fix Them)” which you can find in the Mindful CX library at getmindful.com.

We publish new Snackable CX episodes every week, so be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. See ya next time.

Written and hosted by Sam Salerno.

Produced and engineered by Jared Evers.

Edited, mixed, and mastered by Adam Griffith.

Artwork designed by Rob Beckham.

Snackable CX

Welcome to Snackable CX, where we break down our best resources into bite-size guidance on how to stand out and be known for your customer experience. We deliver! Subscribe to get an emailed Snack right when it drops, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Amazon Music.