Why are Call Centers Failing to Meet Changing Customer Expectations?

Call centers

Do customers find it hard to trust contact centers any longer? So it seems, if we go by the findings of a 2015 report by Dimension Data, which says customer experience has seen a steady drop for 4 years in a row. If this trends keeps continuing, contact centers will find themselves trapped in terrible credibility crisis.

Today, with the advancement in mobile and web, customer expectations are changing fast. Although contact centers have been quick to adapt to new technologies, matching the expected responsiveness of customers has become more challenging. The failing primarily lies in the inability to consider other competing priorities.

Why are the Stakes Falling?

Here’s an example of how contact center credibility can take a beating because of misaligned priorities. A web designer, working with a new software developed problems midway. He called up the call center guy who couldn’t help much, but promised to return soon. The return call did come, but after 24 hours. Meanwhile, the designer emailed the vendor, only to be auto-acknowledged that that they would get back to him. The glitch unduly held up his work and made him accountable for no fault of his. Situations like these are too common and every time they happen they deliver an irreparable blow to the credibility of call centers.

A 2014 survey conducted by Ebiquity states that customers are willing to spend more for great customer service. This hardly come as a surprise. When they buy money on products or services they expect them to work without glitches. So, they won’t grudge spending extra 5% or 10% to insure themselves against glitches, because the alternative is a 100% increase in cost.

In today’s fast moving world, customers look for seamless integration between all channels of communication (Phone, Email, Web etc). They opt for a channel based on their convenience and may seek solutions through some other channel. The expectation is to resolve issues consistently across all available channels of communication. Making this happen can reduce frustration and send across the right impression. Not all companies have realized this need, and so mandate customers to provide credentials details to an automated voice system, and then repeat it all over again to a call center agent.

The Way Forward

Besides aligning service channels to provide customers one-of-a-kind experience, companies would do themselves a world of good by developing proactive strategies to address the needs of their customer base. The answer perhaps lies in putting additional efforts into building relationships while attending to the primary need of solving problems.