Having spent a chunk of my working life in the voice technology space at a time when organisations ran “Call Centres”, I’m familiar with the machinations of the business leaders with regards to resourcing this area of the business.
In the early days, it wasn’t unusual for some business leaders to think that installing a call centre was a panacea that would result in awesome customer reviews and no lost or abandoned calls. They were in the minority of course, and this is certainly not true. In fact, there is a story of a client, who after installing his new Call Centre, was dismayed to find that he was now losing lots of calls and it must be set up incorrectly. As you all know, he was always missing lots of calls, it was now the case that he could categorically know and report on the activities. The adage of “if you can’t measure it, you cannot manage it” is as true as it’s always been.
Omnichannel Contact Centres
Technology advances brought us to multi-channel Contact Centres and the challenge of resourcing remained. The conundrum, of course, being affordability – handling every single incoming event within 5 seconds is achievable, but at manpower cost. So, the solution mostly lies in implementing technology to support the people dealing with your customers. Here also lies the challenge – of poorly implemented technology, and poorly trained and unempowered agents. All of this spells danger.
There are many reasons that a business might have for creating an area of their business as a Contact Centre, and the agents could have a range of different roles and skills. The focus of this missive is the role of Customer Service.
Know your customer
There are today in 2019, organisations that appear to not understand the customers they are choosing to serve, in that they don’t offer them the ability to contact them in a way that they choose, but instead limit them to the services that are deemed convenient and manageable for the Business, and then they resource the Contact Centre with staff who are unempowered and who have a limited ability to affect the outcome. I have personally encountered the Contact Centre where my conversation is filled with platitudes and a deferential language to the point of annoyance, as the issue I have is either not at all understood, or at least ignored and forgotten as the conversation drags on. After the call, I am contacted with a “How did we do today” survey, which I am left thinking is at best pointless, because my responses should set off alarm bells at all levels in the business, and despite leaving my phone number, never hear anything from the company – isn’t this bizarre.
Customer service – A top three business priority?
If you believe the research that is published, then customer satisfaction is generally deemed as a top-three strategic imperative for many businesses, and yet they frequently seem unable to translate this into a positive and fulfilling engagement when the customer requires help and assistance. How can this be? Do we believe that the board of directors are seeing business metrics that suggest otherwise, or is this simply rhetoric, as they are looking at revenue and profit alone?