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Top 5 Recent Customer Service Fails

Top 5 Recent Customer Service Fails

With customers now able to share their complaints on social media, serious snafus often get picked up by the news. The one upside is, when businesses fumble, other companies can immediately learn from their mistakes. Use the lessons from these recent fails to improve your own customer service efforts. Comcast Calls Anger Customers Comcast’s call center has recently made the news numerous times, and not in a good way. Consider these examples: When a customer’s home was lost to a fire, Comcast refused to cancel his service because he didn’t have his account number. Several calls and news stories later, Comcast finally cancelled the subscription, but the damage was already done. Some customers have found that customer service reps that changed their online account names to include words like “dummy,” “jerk,” and even expletives. A customer trying to cancel his service endured an eight-minute phone call where he was harassed by a customer service rep for failing to provide a reason for cancellation. Employee training on tone, approach, and handling unique requests could have prevented most of these situations. In addition, Comcast should modify call screening and remove any representatives who display inappropriate behavior. Bank of America’s Tone-Deaf Tweets Bank of America failed big-time when addressed on social media. After being chased away by cops when writing anti-foreclosure messages in chalk outside a Bank of America branch, Mark Hamilton tweeted about it. Bank of America responded to several Twitter users involved in the conversation with generic responses, such as “We’d be happy to review your account with you to discuss any concerns.” It seemed apparent that the Twitter feed...
How to Combat Call Center Faux Pas

How to Combat Call Center Faux Pas

Bad call center experiences are like death and taxes—it seems everyone experiences them at some point. Perhaps you’ve languished on hold listening to elevator music that grows more aggravating by the minute. Maybe you’ve called with a question only to be shuffled between departments to no avail. Whatever your experience, you probably know how frustrating call center faux pas can be. The question is how do you keep these irritations from befalling your own customers? Read on to learn four of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them. Excessive Wait Times According to the American Express 2012 Global Customer Service report, customers despise these two phrases the most from call centers: “We’re sorry, but we’re experiencing unusually heavy call volumes. You can hold or try back at another time.” “Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold.” In fact, a Google consumer survey found that 32 percent of customers believe that they should never be put on hold. About another 30 percent won’t wait longer than a minute. Clearly, putting customers on hold is a risky proposition. But what else can you do with high call volume? One alternative is the call-back; instead of playing a recording with the phrases above, ask customers to leave their contact information so a rep can get back to them. Another option is to outsource your call center needs to a company like Novasors, which has the capacity requisite to avoid long queues. A third-party source can handle much higher volumes than an in-house operation, which means faster service. Passing the Buck Customers don’t like to hear that you...
The Art of the Call-Back

The Art of the Call-Back

When a customer has an issue and requests a call back, your company is at a crossroads. A well-handled call could earn you the customer’s loyalty. On the other hand, a negative experience might cost you not one customer but many. According to the 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer, consumers are twice as likely to share a bad service experience as they are a positive one. Clearly, much is at stake when resolving various concerns, which is why your communication strategies can make or break your business. Read on to learn what makes a call-back successful and how to master the art. The Benefits are Plentiful Companies rely on the call-back as a way to space out customer interaction and avoid long wait times. Few things are more annoying to consumers than having to listen to elevator music with a recording saying, “Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold,” every two minutes. Unfortunately, that is what often happens at call centers during peak times. The call-back is a more efficient alternative—the individual leaves his or her contact information, and a customer service rep returns the call. Defusing a Delicate Situation During call-backs, customers are often frustrated, impatient, or downright angry. This is more than simply resolving complaints; they must also defuse a negative situation and burnish your brand’s image. Doing so is an art. Inexperienced service reps often escalate the situation by responding with indifference or rudeness when what the customer needs is empathy and validation. If this system fails to defuse the situation, the costs are steep. Forrester found that 89 percent of consumers who...
Call Center vs Contact Center: What is the Difference?

Call Center vs Contact Center: What is the Difference?

While the terms “call center” and “contact center” might sound interchangeable, the services offered between the two differ significantly. Call centers are to contact centers what voice-only flip phones are to today’s smartphones — the former is the simple predecessor of the modern, sophisticated contact center. Call centers offer customer support through voice communication only, while contact centers provide customer support through multiple communication formats. Read on to learn more about how these two types of customer service solutions differ and which is ideal for your business. The Traditional Model If you’ve ever called customer service with a question about your credit card or a computer problem, for example, you’ve probably dealt with a call center. This is a location that receives and places a large number of phone calls to and from businesses customers. This solution allows a business to offer recorded and documented customer support to many people. Agents handle support issues such as receiving and processing orders, tracking the status of an order, following up with customers post-purchase, and providing technical support. While businesses once preferred local call centers, most companies today outsource their customer service to foreign countries like India and the Philippines. Features and Benefits Agents typically interact with customers solely through voice communication, either a public switched phone network or Voice over IP (VoIP). They may designate operators as inbound, outbound, or blended (handles both inbound and outbound calls) agents. A call center, especially because it can be outsourced to a third party, can alleviate the demands on your business. This allows you to concentrate on core, strategic activities instead of customer support...
Here is Why Your Customers Deserve a Local Call Center

Here is Why Your Customers Deserve a Local Call Center

According to the most recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American call center worker earns $33,110 per annum. In comparison, call center operators in the Philippines typically earn just $4,932 a year. This substantial wage gap makes it easy to see why countless American corporations have exported hundreds of thousands of customer service jobs to the Philippines and other developing nations since the ‘90s. Money is a big motivator for any business, but it shouldn’t be a company’s only consideration. For these reasons, your customers deserve a local solution. Local Operators Relate to Consumers The majority of people working at overseas call centers are non-native English speakers who rely on scripts to do their job. This is an efficient system, but one that lacks the human touch customers warm to. Local call centers can respond naturally to humor, for example, and more naturally answer any questions customers pose that veer from the script. This creates a closer bond between the customer and the operator and, by extension, the customer and the company. Customers Struggle to Understand Foreign Call Center Operators Americans often complain that they can’t understand foreign customer service agents, and academic studies support these claims. University of Chicago psychologists found non-native accents make speech more difficult for native speakers to parse. This reduces cognitive fluency, making it harder for the brain to comprehend what it’s heard. This confusion is a real barrier to a satisfactory customer service experience. The study also found that when cognitive fluency is reduced, people begin to doubt what they hear. So, when consumers speak to operators overseas, whether...

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