The customer contact industry must seek regular feedback from customers to drive improvements in their operations, according to customer engagement specialist Aspect Software. With contact centre queues here to stay, operators should listen to their customers to find ways to make the experience of waiting for your call to be answered as pleasant as possible.
Consumer watchdog Which? recently surveyed 2,260 of its members to identify their likes and dislikes about their experiences with the customer contact industry. It found that around half (47 percent) found being told that your call is valued was the most annoying feature while waiting for your call to be answered. This was followed by being directed to the company’s website (28 percent) and apologies for all operators being busy (11 percent). The most annoying sounds were found to be an engaged tone (29 percent), followed by rock music (22 percent) and random background music (21 percent). Around half (48 percent) said that classical music was the most soothing.
However, the survey identified a number of things that can be done to limit customers’ frustrations. When asked about the most useful features to hear, a third (33 percent) cited being told how long you have to wait, followed by where you are in the queue (32 percent), and the offer of being called back if you leave your number (30 percent). 93 percent felt that the maximum time they’re prepared to wait should be no longer than five minutes.
Stephen Ball, SVP Europe and Africa at Aspect, commented: “Ironically, the customer service industry doesn’t always pay enough attention to feedback from customers about their queues, but the fact is that it’s really important; it should be embraced and, importantly, acted upon. No one likes being stuck in a queue, but it’s clear that not all queues are made equal, and the duration of delay is sometimes less important than how you experience it. The music, the messages being played and the features of the queue make an enormous difference to the ultimate experience of the customer, and whether or not they find the queue tolerable or downright annoying. It’s only by speaking to customers and finding out their likes and dislikes that you can start to bring about meaningful and positive change to the way that your contact centre operates. If nobody likes your hold music, change it!
“Building smart features into your queueing system can make a big difference and go a lot further than generic announcements about how your value your customers,” Stephen continued. “There’s no point in just repeating generic messages about how you value your customers – you’ve got to show them how valued they are. The wait time might be five minutes or 30 minutes, so keeping customers informed about where they are in the queue can enable them to make an informed decision about whether or not they want to wait or try again later.
“Another important part of this picture are the call waiting times themselves, and contact centre operators should be doing everything they can to keep them within the thresholds of what consumers feel to be acceptable. Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet here, but a mixture of self-service options and intelligent workforce management technology can help. By deploying the latest in workforce optimisation and management tools you can start to get a better picture of demand and ensure that you’ve got the correctly skilled agents to manage the call volumes coming through. Moreover, with the right information at their fingertips and the full context of the customer journey, agents will be better placed to provide good and fast customer service and leave customers with a great experience,” Stephen concluded.
For more information, visit www.aspect.com/uk