Customer Service Suffering for Certain Contact Centers
February 27, 2008
Customer service departments often get a bad rap. While most are put in place to actually improve the customer experience, many fail to do so by ignoring processes or taking a complacent approach to customer deliverables. For those that really focus on improving the overall customer experience, the standards continue to rise as consumers become more demanding.
In a recent Ouch Point study from Opinion Research Corporation, one in five U.S. respondents, or 20 percent, cited hard to understand representatives with thick accents as their biggest frustration in dealing with customer service departments. Coming in at a close second (17 percent) was the length of time it takes to get through to a representative.
"Customer service representatives are the "face" of any service organization, and therefore need to be understood by their customers," said Linda G. Shea, Senior Vice President and Global Managing Director of Customer Strategies at Opinion Research Corporation, in a Wednesday statement.
"Issues such as the time it takes to reach a representative, a lack of familiarity with the company's products ands services, and being transferred to the wrong person or department, when not identified and remedied, can cause significant damage to a company's reputation and future business," she added.
The study also found that 14 percent cited frustration with representatives that are not knowledgeable about their organization’s products, services or processes. Another 13 percent were frustrated with being transferred to the wrong person or the wrong department.
Still nine percent of respondents were frustrated with representatives who promise to follow through and don’t, while eight percent were frustrated over representatives that are not empowered to handle a situation. Another seven percent cited agents who did not understand the situation and still three percent were frustrated with agents who preferred to debate the situation.
ORC’s “Ouch Point” series is a monthly survey examining tolerance thresholds in a variety of common scenarios facing Americans in both their professional and personal lives every day.
Survey questions are based on ORC’s extensive research experience in the areas of customer service and strategies, market planning and development, corporate branding and reputation and employee engagement.
Information such as that captured in the ORC survey are imperative for customer service companies as a comprehensive focus on these areas can lend to great improvement in their customer service deliverables. Making these elements a priority helps to ensure better customer satisfaction and thus, better customer loyalty.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.
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