Customers hate waiting on hold, end of story. We all know that, it is the #1 complaint of all customers since the beginning of call centers’ existence. However, when a customer calls in with an issue that requires a little more expert knowledge, he is often put on hold for an unacceptable amount of time listening to the annoying 25-years old polyphony.
Of course, an agent can’t know the full scope of possible inquiries by heart, but try explaining that to a customer who spent the last hour stuck in the cobweb of a call center.
Underlying causes of poor customer service
Books, guides, articles keep on covering the same, almost traumatic, pitfalls of dealing with a contact center. Tips for handling customer complaints date all the way back to the 1960s. We learned to do “warm transfers” and brightened up the on-hold melodies with “Your call is important to us” mantra. It is crystal clear that companies, managers and agents all strive to improve.
Nevertheless, for the past ten years the experience of contacting customer support has not really changed. (Only now you have to guess whether you are speaking to a futuristic conversational IVR or a real agent, and then still listen to that polyphonic ringtones on hold.)
So there must be something fundamentally wrong in the contact center system that keeps generating these typical mishaps.
Let’s look at the basics. Providing access to information, resources, and expertise is the core value that contact centers offer to the customers. Since most products and services have long become too complex, searching for information is now a major skill for agents’ everyday work. The actual ability to analyze and use knowledge is then obtained through trial and error with real clients.
However, knowing information doesn’t mean you have the expertise – the most important core value that customers are looking for. It is the lack of expertise that leads to misinformation, prolonged hold time and ping-pong between departments.
How To Fix It
You know that to overcome misinformation, long hold time and excessive transfers between departments your agents need to:
a) Quickly find information
b) Become expert quickly
To achieve this, traditional guides suggest introducing additional training sessions, penalties for agents’ error, new KPIs or hiring more staff. And yes, companies have been following this advice carefully.
Nevertheless, has it transformed contact centers? Only to some extent. It is 2020, however, main customer complaints still resemble reports from the 70s.
Just like building more stores on top of a bad foundation won’t fix the house, adding KPIs and departments won’t fix a call center. Reinforcing foundation is what really makes a change.
The good news is, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and automation technologies have already been made. And this modern solution that solves age-old problems is called knowledge automation.
This technology surfaces the best answers to agents and customers right where they need them: workflow sequence and self-service portals.
It’s time to level up your approach to managing and distributing your core value – knowledge.
Look deeper into smart knowledge management and learn how to overcome these problems in our latest guide: A Practical KM Best Practices Guide.