As a part of the Service Quality Assessment our group provides on an on-going basis for many clients, we commonly listen for Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) to avoid reflecting any caller negativity. Because we only measure this behavior when it's applicable, we get a very accurate picture of how often a client's CSRs must deal with escalated customers.
Guess what? The percentage is generally in the low single digits and, more often than not, it is in the range of one to two percent. This holds true for clients who are in typically confrontational situations like collections. I'm not saying there aren't contact centers to handle a greater percentage of escalated customers. I am stating what I can quantify from the data I have.
I also know, experientially, that it is quite common for CSRs and contact center personnel to exaggerate the number of escalated customers they deal with on an on-going basis. It's much like customers who will be on hold for 30 seconds and subsequently claim that they were put on hold for three minutes. Because escalated customers take up a disproportionate amount of emotional energy and mind share when they do call, I beleive we tend to have an unrealistic perspective of how often we actually handle angry callers.
It can be helpful to get a realistic perspective, and a good Quality Assessment process will provide you the data you need. When CSRs claim that they deal with angry customers all day long, I often know that this is simply a misperception. If I have the data to prove it, we can get beyond that misperception and start focusing on the vast majority of customers who are perfectly pleasant to deal with.