Every company today knows full well that customer service is at the core of its profitability and continuity—especially for a few select industries. In fact, a new survey commissioned by global market research firm Ipsos calls out those verticals that boast the worst customer service departments:
- Government offices (39 percent)
- Telecommunications (38 percent)
- Healthcare (18 percent)
- Utilities (17 percent)
- Insurance (13 percent)
- Airlines (12 percent)
- Retail (12 percent)
The customer service department, affectionately known as the call center, can quickly become the underbelly of an organization—that is, the part of the company that is most easily vulnerable or prone to attack. Just consider some of the most recent headlining offenses, like when American Airlines kept a customer on hold for six hours straight due to a weather-related flight cancellation or the multiple customer issues experienced by Comcast customers—news that is still making headlines today. These are just two of many examples of how companies that fall under the above categories often miss the mark with customer care best practices.
If your organization is a key player in any of the above industries, it may be time to hone in on customer service a bit more than usual to competitively differentiate yourself. After all, customer service/experience is slated to overtake price and product as the No. 1 strategic differentiator for companies by 2020, according to aggregated research from FinancesOnline.com.
Research has found that 80 percent of companies believe they deliver “superior” customer service yet only 8 percent of consumers agree. So how do you get those numbers aligned? Here are a few tips to ensure your customer service efforts are top-notch:
- Prioritize good service over fast service: It is imperative that contact center managers prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to customer interactions. Just consider that aggregated research from Help Scout shows that rude, incompetent or rushed service is the No. 1 reason why a customer will abandon a brand, verses only 18 percent who cited slow service.
- Coach staff for continual improvement: Provide targeted, customized coaching to continually improve your agent base. For example, managers should consider leveraging a contact center software solution that has desktop and speech analytics, which enables them to play back recordings of calls and/or agent desktop activity to improve performance and workflow. By reviewing this information, along with reports available in the system’s dashboard, managers can equip agents with the necessary tools to improve right from their desks in-between agent interactions.
- Leverage (and use!) big data: It is important that managers harness the data that is flowing through their contact center (i.e. customer survey data, speech analytics) in order to improve quality of service. For instance, a speech analytics tool can flag key phrases or words spoken by customers so that managers can quickly identify and resolve enterprise-wide issues such as a spike in customers being unable to access their portal to pay bills online.
Want to learn more about delivering contact center consistency? We suggest you read this blog.