A common conflict in call centers is the need to verify callers. Companies often stress the importance of verifying each caller for three reasons:
- Security: if you’re handling a customer’s personal information, you better make sure that the person on the phone is the customer or an authorized user on the account
- Efficiency: every database has issues and it’s common for names, addresses and phone numbers to be incorrectly keyed. If you catch a mistake on the front-end – you might save a lot of headaches when things get sent to the wrong address, follow-up correspondence is lost, etc.
- Documentation: if each call is not catalogued and documented, it’s hard for the company to verify when the caller says, "I called yesterday and the guy told me…" If each call is documented, it helps the company and future CSRs to get a handle on the history of the customer or an issue.
Each of these reasons is valid, and will ultimately serve the customer well – even though verification may not affect the immediate, pressing issue for the customer’s call. For this reason, CSRs often balk at verifying the caller because they see it as a waste of time and an inconvenience to the customer – who, they claim, "just wants their issue resolved".
But sometimes it DOES impact the immediate, pressing issue. I was analyzing a call over the weekend in which a customer started the call by explaining that they were having an issue with their product. The CSR by-passed the verification process and immediately began troubleshooting the problem, providing the customer with instructions on how to get their product running again. In the middle of the instructions, the call was suddenly and surprisingly disconnected.
Because the CSR had no idea who they were helping and had never pulled up an account, the customer will have to:
- Call the company back
- Wait in queue
- Explain the situation again to a different CSR
- Deal with a frustrated CSR who has no notes from the prior conversation to help them understand what the situation is and what had been instructed
- Try to explain what the other CSR had said and what they had done
- Hope that the new CSR can pick up the process where it left off
It would have been much easier had the CSR simply pulled up the account, verified the caller including address and phone number. When the call disconnected the CSR could respond by immediately calling the customer and saving the customer (and the company) several headaches.