Customer Service Calls Get Longer & More Complex

I was recently given a study from the Customer Contact Council by one of our clients. Along with the study, he sent an excellent summary of the report. Here are a few of his bullets:

  • Contact centers have successfully moved easy calls to self service
  • With mature self service adoption, the remaining contacts are more challenging for agents
  • Handle times are increasing
  • First call resolution is decreasing
  • Focus must shift more to quality and less to productivity
  • Agents must work through issues using non-linear thinking
  • Focus for supervision in a call center must rely heavily on coaching. Retention should be next, recruiting a distant third, and training has no positive impact on employee satisfaction/retention.

These findings match up with our client experience across several markets. As more customers self-serve on the phone and web, the calls that actually make it into the call center are increasingly complex and more difficult to resolve. That means handle time increases and the importance of handling the call with quality rises.

Call Centers who are solely focused on handle times and meeting monthly bottom-line quotas are going to find it increasingly difficult to meet old benchmarks. In addition, the negative impact on customer satisfaction and retention may be greater than ever if you stick with a "get ’em off the phone and keep your handle time down" mentality.

Listen to your customers to find out what drives their satisfaction.
Listen to your call center to find out how they measure against customer expectation.
Train and coach your CSRs to "fill the gap".

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