The Agent Or The Dentist?

Holiday time is supposed to be a joyous season.  This, of course, as long as you have no need to call customer service.  When that happens, it becomes a season of frustration and anger, at least according to the latest iteration of the Customer Service Report from the folks at Corvisa.  It doesn’t sound as if it will be a particularly happy time for the businesses in the receiving end of the calls either.  You can have a look at the complete report here.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Consumers are getting fed up with poor customer service and, as a result, business livelihoods are at stake.
  • When it comes to customer service delivery, companies don’t get many chances to make a good impression.
  • Long hold times hurt the bottom line.
  • Robotic-sounding agents are undermining ROI.
  • Consumers don’t hold back when they’re angry, and often share their experiences with others.

I don’t know that there is anything particularly new about any of those findings, but the degree to which some are an issue might be. When 48% of respondents said they have stopped doing business with a company due to negative customer service experiences in the past year, it should give any business manager a reason to pause and think about half of the customers who call customer service walking away.  25% of Millennials say it takes only a single bad interaction to prompt them to jump.

The other point that hit me was the need to stay human.  I’ve supervised a business that had to deal with daily customer service calls.  There is a tendency to want to script everything so that every customer has the same experience and issues are anticipated and resolved.  The problem is that customers “hear” it’s a script.  We need to train agents with general guidelines and protocols and then let them deal with each situation in a more human way.

Customer service is still, for the most part, broken.  52% of survey respondents said they would rather shop with the crowds on Black Friday or go to the dentist than speak with customer service.  Does that sound like it’s working to you?


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