5 Suggestions for Improving the Customer Experience

“Your call is important to us.”

Admit it — every time you hear that phrase, you suspect the opposite is true. If my call is so important, why are you putting me on hold and making me listen to this mind-numbing background music?

Companies spend around $350 billion each year on customer services initiatives, yet consumers say many of their interactions with customer service reps just leave them feeling frustrated and angry. Rude customer service agents, extended hold times and repetitive conversations with multiple agents are among the issues that trigger customers.

The consequences can be devastating — studies show that more than 80 percent of consumers have switched brands after a poor customer service experience. Analysts say U.S. companies lose $75 billion a year due to poor customer experiences, many of them stemming from unpleasant contact center interactions.

Here are five of the top customer complaints about contact center experiences, along with suggestions for resolving these issues:

Long hold times make customers feel like they’re getting the runaround. Studies show that most callers will hang up within two minutes of being placed on hold. Organizations can’t always afford to hire more agents to handle call volumes, but modernized contact center platforms can make call handling far more efficient. Solutions based on unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) technology help reduce hold times by placing incoming calls into a queue and automatically routing them to the appropriate agent or group.

“Touchpoint amnesia” ranks among the most frustrating aspects of customer service interactions. This refers to situations where customers must continually repeat themselves to multiple agents because information isn’t being forwarded. This problem can be averted though integration of customer relationship management (CRM) software with the contact center platform. CRM integration makes it easy to push customer information to new agents through screen pops, allowing more personal and effective service.

Rude or patronizing agents make customers feel they are being disrespected or not taken seriously. That’s a sure-fire way to lose customers. Training and development programs can help agents deal with customers in a more positive and business-friendly manner.  Additionally, agents need a solid understanding of your contact center software, including the tools needed to track customer requests, issues and complaints, and where to find the resources to address them.

Confusing menu options often frustrate callers. Typical automated attendant applications may offer a long list of options for connecting to different destinations. Callers often work their way through multiple levels of a menu tree just to discover they’ve reached the wrong department. Increased use of automation and artificial intelligence can improve the experience with more sophisticated self-service options.

Limited communication options don’t always meet customer needs. Although voice remains the preferred communication channel, customers increasingly prefer to communicate by other means. Cloud-based contact center-as-a-service platforms power omnichannel communications by uniting telephony, email, messaging, mobility, conferencing and more into a single integrated platform. This allows customers to engage with you on their terms using the media and device of their choice.

It is hard to overstate the importance of customer-friendly contact center operations. Research shows that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. Getting the customer experience right requires investing customer experience technology and training that help facilitate fast, seamless and productive omnichannel communications. We can help you improve your operations to enhance the customer experience with Mitel phone system support and other technologies.