Why poor call centre customer service isn’t always the agents fault

By Jonathan Grant – CEO of NewVoiceMedia

Jonathan Grant - CEO of NewVoiceMediaI can hear the groans already, but it’s true, poor customer service from call centre staff isn’t always the agents fault. Hard to believe I know!

We’ve all been on the end of one of those calls when your query just isn’t being dealt with and you’re getting more and more frustrated. I know it’s hard to believe but this isn’t always the fault of the agent, it’s the systems they use and the information they have to hand that is to blame.

There is one thing I will say however, before I start picking holes in todays call centres; the concept itself is a fantastic innvovation that has dramatically changed the shape of how we communicate today.

Think about it, how did we communicate with companies before the call centre existed? Hard to remember, isn’t it? Yet the first automatic call distribution systems went live only 30 years ago, and were not widely used until the mid-1990s.

Since then the call centre has become one of the most important touch points between a business and its customers. However, unfortunately, call centres have been slow to change. Inbound callers are highly critical of poor customer service, long queues and automated systems. This is painfully apparent when you consider that only 30 per cent of staff in UK based call centres have the relevant customer information in front of them when taking calls. Hence we’re back to the problem – The concept is great but the execution is poor.

From my perspective, as a consumer who regularly calls into contact centres and as the CEO of NewVoiceMedia, it seems preposterous that this should be the case. There are cost-effective, flexible solutions available, which mean that business shouldn’t be providing below par customer service.

For example, we work closely with Salesforce.com and have created a truly integrated telephony solution with the Salesforce CRM system. The solution seamlessly transforms the way contacts and customers are handled when they interact with an organisation. In a nut shell,  agents have access to a single central source of information for all customer communication, sharing valuable contact data across an organisation. Inbound calls are announced to the agent with a link to the caller’s details and customer data held in Salesforce. This dramatically improves efficiency and helps to improve the overall caller experience. Everything the agent needs to provide the highest level of customer service is right at their fingers tips.

For me, this should be a standard element of any call centre. How can managers expect their agents to provide a superior level of service if they don’t provide them with the correct information?

What have your experiences been – either as a consumer or within business? I’d be very interested to hear your experiences.

You could also join a webinar we are jointly hosting with Astadia “The Six Reasons to move your contact centre to the Cloud” on Thursday 29th July at 12 noon.  The webinar will include best practice for successful contact centres, based on customer experience.

Click to register

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