Let’s face it, customers are fickle. In the past week I’ve had to reach out to two different call centers. The first time I was on my way home, and out of the desire to be productive while sitting in traffic, I picked up my cell phone and called the contact number listed on the company’s website. I needed to ask an important question about my account and understand actions I needed to take to get more information. The website said they had agents available from 6am to midnight. I pressed almost every option including hitting #0, *0, 0, and eventually was hung up on by the computer. I called back twice and had the same experience. Another time I was at work and couldn’t talk on the phone so I tried the available chat option. I was trying to change my service with this particular media provider. After chatting with the agent for a brief period of time, I was told that I had to call in to have my question answered. Needless to say, in both instances, my expectations were not met and this only led to extreme frustration and dissatisfaction.
Although these experiences are not uncommon it’s still surprising how some call centers are still in the dark ages. As companies look for ways to connect with customers like me, with shifting expectations, they need to improve and personalize their service, or customers will go elsewhere – especially because it’s as easy as a click of a button. Yet, they are also getting significant pressure to find opportunities to decrease costs. What smart companies are quickly realizing is that their “call centers” are pots of gold, not sources of cost cuts. The opportunities to access and leverage rich customer data and engage with their customers is immense. With the right knowledge this data can provide details about how customers want to engage, what improvements need to be made in customer interactions further upstream, and what new metrics need to be monitored, all leading to better customer service and satisfaction