When was the last time you gave thought to the people answering customer questions, troubleshooting customer problems, and selling customers product? And what was your attitude toward them and the contact center in general?
Too often, those in direct contact with the most vital component of your business, your customers, are often treated as drones who are uneducated, unmotivated, and generally incapable of acting human.
Now, if this is the type of call center agent you have it is because this is the type of call center agent you hired. In an effort to save a few pennies in wages, customer service and support is sacrificed. And it is a sacrifice……..customers who have even a single bad customer service and support experience are gone forever, no second chances. There is another company down the road only too happy to offer the customer what you did not: customer service and support that solved their problems, offered them new or extended solutions, anything to keep them happy and coming back for more.
Maybe what I just wrote sounds harsh, maybe puts people on the defensive. But poor customer service and support has not, is not, and never will be good for business. Whatever meager savings are gained from shorting the very staff that is in direct contact with the people who keep your company afloat is lost in spades. In a good economy having good customer service and support is good business. In a poor economy, good customer service and support is essential.
I cannot stress enough: Those who work directly with your customers are your biggest asset. You could have the best widget in the world, but if a customer cannot get good service, your company will never sell them another of those widgets, nor sell any to their friends, nor anyone following their Twitter stream, read their their blog, or seen their opinions about your company in community forums. No amount of marketing, price reduction, or other efforts to repair your reputation will save you. People are far more likely to trust the aforementioned resources than they are to trust anything a company puts out.
Phew! OK, the pummeling is over. I’m sorry I had to do that but it was for your own good.
There have been innumerable articles, blog posts (mine included), whole books even about customer experience, customer service and support, contact center management, customer retention, on and on and on. It can seem overwhelming. And you feel like you don’t have time to read any of it anyway, you are trying to keep your business going.
But you don’t really need any of those resources if you put yourself in your customer’s place as part of any decision making activity you undertake. Just stop for a moment when a suggestion that negatively impacts the contact center is put on the table. Imagine if you needed help from someone who has just taken a pay cut, had more work piled on them, was denied appropriate training. What kind of help would you get? How would it make you feel? And would you ever buy that company’s products again?
Go sit with your customer service and support agents on a regular basis. Listen to the calls, read the emails, watch the customer forums. And learn how your agents treat your customers. If you have taken care of your contact center agents, you will be astounded at their expertise, their diplomacy, their very desire to help.
If you haven’t, you will see first hand just what that is doing to your business.