Everyone has had experiences of long hold times, incorrect answers or other frustrations when contacting call centers/tech support. Some companies have tried to address these issues by offering to have agents call back when one becomes available, improving training and offering improved self-help capabilities. Yet even with these advancements, customer complaints with call center/tech support interactions is still common. According to a Statista report, 27% of customers say they are frustrated with lack of service from contact center/tech support; 12% cited lack of speed and 10% cited lack of accuracy.
Customers should be able to have certain expectations when interacting with a contact center — a Customer Expectations Bill of Rights. What would be included in such a “document?”
“When thinking about a customer Bill of Rights, there are two issues to contend with,” said M. Kim Saxton, clinical professor of marketing at the Indiana Kelley School of Business. “The first is what predicts customer satisfaction with a call center. And the second is what should callers rightly expect to happen. For example, perceived wait time is a consistent predictor of caller satisfaction. But, does a caller have a right to have a short wait time? No, probably not because it is outside of the call center’s control.”
After some research, interviews and careful thought, here is what customer should expect in a Customer Bill of Rights.
The Right to Courtesy and Empathy
Rick Perez, founder and CEO of Avangard Innovative, shared that courtesy should be at the top of the list. Customers need to feel they are your most important customer. If there is a situation where an issue may be temporarily unresolved, customers will appreciate having a call center rep that communicated courteously, respectfully and with kindness because that in itself is a demonstration of excellent customer service.
All customer support team members should be trained and supervised on being courteous even when customers are not, said Dikmen. Knowing how to diffuse a customer frustration and move the communication forward to resolution is key to protecting the brand and bringing real value to your call center-tech support operation.
Empathy, said Joe Manuele, Dialpad senior vice president of corporate and business development, is critical. The customer wants someone to care about their problem and find a solution. This issue is important to them, therefore it needs to be important to the customer service representative. Each customer call is a new opportunity to help someone and the caller needs to hear a confident voice attached to a competent person with genuine concern who is willing and able to address their need.
The Right to Accountability and Transparency
Kiki Dikmen, CEO of Choice! Energy Management, thinks that call center and tech support teams should be effectively trained on all systems prior to being assigned. In a B2B environment, this means training reps to have in-depth knowledge of product and service suites, various contracts, plans and programs. If call center reps are unfamiliar with some or all of the customer’ request, they should be upfront and truthful about their lack of knowledge and then provide a solution as to how the customer can achieve that level of service by contacting another department or calling another number.
The Right To Be Heard
This right is one of the most common rights that you will find in any consumer bill of rights. It’s even more true in a call center. A caller has the right that someone will listen to their complaints, empathize with them in that these complaints are real, and try to address the complaint. In fact, empathy from the call center attendant is one of the biggest predictors of caller satisfaction.
The Right To Interact With a Well-Trained Agent
Customers should expect companies with multiple divisions to have call center reps that have been trained in-depth on each area of the business. Having a generalist take calls on specifics they do not understand will be a waste of time. Customers should expect that companies will have call center support whoa are trained on the products and services they are using as well as trained on new upgrades and features to receive custom solutions to specific problems.
Additionally, said Manuele, when a customer has put in the time and effort to call the support line it’s often for an issue they could not self-solve. If the voice on the other end is meek, lethargic, uncertain or uninterested, the customer loses confidence in the rep’s ability to solve their issue. A poor first impression lays a shaky foundation for the rest of the interaction.
The Right to First Call Resolution
When people have a problem, they want it fixed on their first call. This too is a common predictor of caller satisfaction. While it’s easy to listen. It’s much harder to be empowered to fix a problem. By including one-call success as a right, the company will work harder to set up systems that make it easier for the call center attendant to fix any problem. Legendary customer service-oriented companies like Nordstorm’s and Peloton have done just this. Another great example of this approach to customer support is T-Mobile’s Team of Experts.
The Right To Choose the Channel
These days you have to meet your customers where they, which is why omnichannel support should be top of mind for CX leaders. Some of the best companies make it just as easy to get customer service online as via phone. This is a great way to compensate for long wait times. If a company doesn’t force consumers to have to call them to work out problems, they may be even happier. People tend to be more satisfied when they have a choice.
The Right to Self-Service Options
Today many customers want to find answers for themselves and aren’t interested in calling into a call center or waiting in a queue. These people want quickly and easily find, digestible answers to their issues. Ensure that your FAQs cover common and recurring issues with your product or service.