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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 can’t help them. They especially don’t like transfers to different departments. The American Express survey mentioned above also found that customers react negatively to the phrase “We are unable to resolve your concern. Please call [phone number] to speak with a representative from [insert department here].”

With some call centers, transfers are inevitable. How the transfer is presented can make all the difference, though. For instance, instead of saying, “Your call is important. Please hold while I transfer you to XYZ department,” you might say, “OK, Chris, I’m going to introduce you to Theresa, our billing specialist, to get your questions answered.”

Another option is to entrust your needs with a company that does nothing else. The cross-trained professionals at Novasors are versatile enough that they won’t have to pass the buck or give your customers the runaround. Outsourcing your needs will give your customers one-stop shopping.

Repeatedly Asking for Customer Info

Without an integrated answering system, inter-departmental transfers inevitably lead to redundant requests for customer information. The only thing more frustrating than being transferred from department to department is having to repeat yourself each time. With a third-party call center service, each representative will see a customer profile that will allow representatives to bypass frustrating initial inquiries. A centralized system keeps all representatives on the same page, so your customer doesn’t have to pick up the slack.

Neglecting the Follow-Up

A follow-up call is critical to determine whether the customer is actually satisfied with the service received. Most customers don’t complain when they’re unhappy with their service; they simply abandon the brand. In fact, for every one customer who complains, there are 26 others with the same problem that remain silent. A follow-up can help you identify and resolve any lingering concerns. Follow-ups, of course, add volume to your organization that it may not be able to handle. This is another instance where outsourcing your contact center needs to a third party will help you meet customers’ expectations.

Resolving customer complaints without driving customers away is not difficult if you have the right staff and resources. By outsourcing your customer service needs, you can ensure that your company doesn’t commit the faux pas that can drive customers away.

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