Do Call Centers Benefit Anyone?
As a patron of different services and a former employee of a call center I've often asked myself the question "do call centers really benefit customers?" We have all called some type of service and had a negative experience. Furthermore if customers are not satisfied- are companies really benefiting from using call centers to process business transactions?
In recent years most businesses that use call centers have created internal ways of measuring customer satisfaction. Every company strives to be the "best" in customer satisfaction, but what does that really mean? You probably hear the automated message "this call could be recorded for quality assurance purposes." From working in a call center four, maybe five of sixty to seventy calls were recorded per day. Most companies record each representatives calls at the same time every day AND those representatives may have access to see what time their calls are being recorded. With this said if you've probably experienced a rude representative that either hung up on you or said things you wouldn't even repeat means they know there is no way for you to report them. Have you ever called with a billing issue and the representative said they took care of the issue only to find out a month later it was never dealt with? A big company probably handles over a million calls a month. Just imagine how many customers are dissatisfied.
Do Companies Benefit From Call Centers?
Call centers can be beneficial for general questions or to make changes, however if you're having an issue with billing or any other major issue it's not comforting or enough proof for someone to simply say it's resolved. If issues are not resolved, customers normally call in more often. When hundreds or even thousands of customers call in more than once a month companies have to pay more. On top of having dissatisfied customers, companies also have to cover the costs of having employees work over time to answer all the calls that are coming in a quick manner.
What's The Solution?
In my opinion customers and companies could benefit with a complete remodel of their customer service options. Some examples would be:
- Offering online chat options. Online chat provides quite a few perks that phone conversations simply cannot do. You can receive a complete copy of your conversation in your e-mail. This provides proof. You can multitask in an internet chat. If you're "on hold" you can do anything you want, hands free until a representative is available.
- Call centers offer options to have conversations recorded and e-mailed to customers. Representatives would not even need to know customers chose to have the call recorded. This would be a great way to force representatives to handle each, individual call the way they should and again offer the customer more than someone's word that their issue has been resolved.
- Often in call centers a group of employees are under the direction of one person. Essentially one person is in charge of answering tons of questions, and handling calls that require speaking with a supervisor. This can cause the call to last longer than expected. Having teams of supervisors only taking supervisor calls will cut down on the time a customer is on the phone.
I believe that companies need to remember the first rule of business. Without consumers companies would not exist. Installers, customer service representatives and local business outlets need more than customer satisfaction surveys to base their communication tactics. What do you think?
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