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Thursday, 19 November 2009

Billions of dollars lost to poor customer service

Interesting research from Genesys has just been published and is given a good write up in MyCustomer.com by Stuart Lauchlan. First, I must say they deserve ‘la Palme d’Or’ for the highest number one can find in a customer service press release: $338.5bn! Having said that, I think it is interesting to quantify the actual costs resulting from underperforming customer service in this way. Where do the issues stem from?
"The biggest problems that customers experience and which undermines the customer satisfaction levels are familiar ones. They include being trapped in automated self-service, having to wait too long for service, having to repeat themselves and having to talk to company representative who lack the skill to deal with their problems. On the other hand, most consumers surveyed argued that they would be most satisfied when dealing with a competent, live customer service rep."

Delivering a positive customer experience, enabling customers to engage with a competent, live customer service rep is actually very difficult. It requires providing the agent with systems that not just deliver the right information at the right time but also guides him or her through the steps needed to resolve the customer query. This is the only way to allow the agent to focus on the customer interaction and ensure satisfaction. The most critical aspect is an effective user interface that prompts the agent in an intuitive way through each step required to complete the task and resolve the query. What is the main obstacle to achieve this? The multiplicity and complexity of systems that agents are forced to use.

The other interesting point here is that customers prefer to talk to a live person, to a human being, to resolve their queries beyond the most simple tasks. This reinforces our belief that contact centers are and will continue to be essential in maximizing customer value. Trying to resolve performance issues by automating away the contact centre does not seem to be the right answer. Providing agents with the right tools that make their jobs easier is.

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