Do you think your company provides good customer service? Of course you do!
Do you think your customers would agree? Most likely, the answer is the same: Of course you do!
But you can be wrong. While we think we’re good at addressing customer questions, issues, and complaints, overall our customers don’t agree. And here’s the proof. Calabrio has released its State of the Contact Center 2022 report. To get the answers they were looking for, Calabrio surveyed 250 contact center managers and 250 consumers. Here are three of the most telling takeaways, along with my commentary.
· Eighty percent of contact center managers say they meet customer expectations, while only about 45 percent of consumers agree. That’s a huge gap of 35%. where is the miss Is it long wait times, multiple transfers, improperly trained agents, unauthorized agents, or some other reason? Forget managers think their contact centers are doing a good job. Look at customer perceptions. Only 45% believe contact centers are meeting their expectations. And we wonder why customers don’t feel comfortable turning to a company for help or support.
· 78% of contact center managers believe their agents demonstrate emotional empathy, but only 58% of customers agree. Again, this is a big split. In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, empathy was more important than ever. Customer emotions ran high. They were worried, angry and scared. Empathy was a way to show concern and build relationships. Two years later, empathy is just as important. Customers liked it and got used to it.
· 79% of contact center managers believe they have fast response times, but only 45% of customers agree. You might think you have good response times, but about half of your customers would disagree. It’s easy. Customers don’t like to wait. This is friction. There is an alternative. It’s not perfect, but it helps control customer frustration. If you need to keep customers waiting in line, invest in technology that tells them how long the wait will be and also gives them the option to wait or be called back.
So how do you close the gap? First and foremost, survey your customers to find out if these gaps (and others) apply to you. The results fall into two areas. First, you will confirm that you are doing a good job. If that’s the case, get on with what you’re doing. Or, secondly, you will realize that you have work to do. Then consider this process:
1. Survey your customers. (You’ve already done this, so continue with steps two through seven.)
2. Journey Map the customer’s support experience. If you haven’t already created a good journey map of the experiences customers have when they try to contact your business – across all channels – do it now!
3. Test the support experience. This is one of the best ways to get to know the experience. It gets even more interesting when executives and executives play the “undercover boss” and slip into the role of a customer.
4. Look at the map and the Mystery Shopping report card to spot gaps and opportunities.
5. Discuss how you can eliminate or reduce the gaps and look at all touchpoints (where customers interact with you) to find opportunities to improve the customer experience. Find out how to create the right processes, invest in the right technology, and properly train your employees so they can empathize, understand, and properly handle questions and complaints.
6. Go to work! Make the necessary changes to close the gap.
7. Repeat. No, your work is not finished yet! Just like the directions on your shampoo say to lather, rinse and repeat, wait a reasonable amount of time after you’ve done the work of the first six steps and repeat. At least repeat step one. If you like the new results again, you can skip the rest of the process, but not forever. You need to continuously monitor customer perceptions. If the new results still show a gap, continue working on the process until you narrow the gap to an acceptable range. You may never achieve perfect perceptual harmony, but the effort to get there will pay off with happier customers who say, “I’ll be back.”
Once you know your gaps, you can create the right processes, invest in the right technology, and train your employees to empathize, understand, and properly handle questions and complaints. While all of this may seem like common sense, the numbers prove that common sense isn’t always common sense.