Danger #2: Unhappy Customers
Updated: May 23, 2019
By Licia Wolf
Contact Center agents in public utility facilities engage in diverse and multi-faceted responsibilities. Agents communicate not only with external customers and associates but also internal employees. Internal staff have varying needs and can range from field engineers to equipment procurement to regulatory departments. Productive operations require agents to communicate appropriately with a positive attitude and follow through with their customers.
If contact center operations fall short in any of these areas, customer dissatisfaction can result. When customers are unhappy with the way they are treated, they can cause harm to the company that can result in a decline in sales revenue, deficient internal operations, service outages, and increased safety risk.
Bad customer service experience complaints reach over twice as many people as do praises for good experiences. Often the company is the last to find out that their customers are not happy with customer service. Surveys show that for every customer who bothers to complain, 26 others remain silent.
Common Factors Causing Unhappy Customers:
Long wait times – holding for an agent, transfers, and not offering callbacks
No resolution in the first call – if an issue cannot be resolved on the first call, more time is required for the customer
Agent post-call activities - some systems require agents to spend more time after the call to resolve issues, resulting in decreased agent availability
High handling time – spending too much time with a customer without achieving results
Tone of agent – agents with an unpleasant tone can cause the caller to feel put off and unimportant
Not understanding the customer’s needs – the agent may not ask questions that underlie the issue, and may fail to take the right actions to help the customers
Poor Customer Service is Fixable
Fortunately, creating a top-notch contact center is readily achievable with the right tools in place. Proper training is one aspect that greatly improves the quality and performance of customer service agents, and this will in turn raise customer satisfaction. 7 of 10 customers in the U.S. have stated that they would spend more with companies they feel provide excellent customer service.
The first step is to record all interactions in your contact center. This includes calls, emails, texts, IMs, radio, and other communications. A recording system that provides quick and easy retrieval of any interaction for analysis makes agent training efficient and rewarding. The system should also include quality assurance assessment, with customized grading forms that allow supervisors to assign scores and grades to agents’ interactions. When agents can hear and see playbacks of their interactions (guided by their supervisors), it helps them to better understand the direction for improvement, and allows them to take control of their performance.
For example, an agent may be unaware that they sound unfriendly on the phone and fail to close the call with an action item, but hearing themselves would allow them to pinpoint the issues and enable them to make positive changes.
With call recording and quality assessment tools, you can measure the results of multiple agents or interactions. A good application should have the ability to easily generate reports for the groups you choose to look at. You may want to examine all agents or select sub-sets based on your parameters, compare performance at various times and dates to look for changes, and more.
The HigherGround Calibre platform with Quality Assessment includes all the features discussed above, including customized grading forms and scoring, quick report generation and analysis. Armed with this powerful tool, your agents can be coached to achieve high-level performance, and in turn improve customer satisfaction.
What are your thoughts? Share your comments on how call recording in utilities can cure unhappy customers.
About the author - Licia Wolf is the Marketing and Communications Manager at HigherGround. She holds a Ph.D., and a professional background in electronics, internet marketing, and print/imaging technology. Click here for more information on Licia and the rest of the HigherGround team.
HigherGround, Inc. provides best-in-class, reliable data capture and interaction storage solutions that enable clients to easily retrieve critical information. Our interaction recording and incident reconstruction solutions transform data into actionable intelligence, allowing optimization of operations, enhanced performance, and cost reduction.