The Impact of Contact Centre Downtime on Customer Satisfaction

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Filed under - Contact Centre News,

Justin Robbins of Talkdesk discusses the negative influence on both Customer Satisfaction (CSat) and customer loyalty that contact centre downtime can have.

A couple of weeks ago, several major social media platforms went down for the better part of a day. If you’re a regular user of these services then you likely noticed that something wasn’t quite right.

A mild inconvenience? Sure. But, for most people, life went on without any major impacts.

Contrast that with system outages that shutter power grids, ground flights or prevent access to critical information and you quickly realise that downtime can legitimately put people in harm’s way.

Whether your contact centre is supporting a health system, financial services, higher education, retail, or any other vertical, it’s important to understand what happens to your customers when they can’t reach the contact centre.

First, there is the short-term effect on the customer’s immediate need: they couldn’t purchase the product, receive the answer to their question, or file a complaint. Beyond that, however, outages can have a lasting impact on your customers and may have the potential to reach those who weren’t directly affected.

Even after your outage is restored, will your customers believe, or trust, that it was an isolated experience? Will news of the downtime get amplified across social media and influence the future decisions of potential customers?

At a time when businesses leverage the customer experience as a competitive advantage, it’s important to understand how the impact of an outage can last long after it’s over.

Outages Erode Customer Confidence

Have you ever travelled to a business and once you arrived discovered that it was closed? Or perhaps you arrived for a meeting only to discover that the conference room was empty?

In either of those circumstances, doubt and uncertainty cross your mind. Was the business supposed to be closed? Did you miss a meeting cancellation notice? Did you do something wrong, or was it the other parties’ fault?

You may feel confused, inconvenienced, stressed out, angry, or any of many other emotions. A customer experiences these same emotions when they try to contact your organisation during an outage.

After they’ve had some time to process the experience, customers may question how often this type of thing happens. In other instances, customers will seek out an acceptable alternative from your competition. Most, if not all of them, will feel less confident in your organisation’s reliability for service.

In some instances, customers will quickly forget and move on from the experience, while, for others, it could take years to gain (or regain) customer confidence.

Downtime Damages Your Brand’s Reputation

Your outage may only last a matter of minutes or affect just a portion of your customer base, but don’t let the number of people affected or the amount of time involved trick you into thinking that the damage won’t be significant.

We live in a hyper-connected, socially amplified world where just a single customer with a problem can escalate to a global audience.

No organisation is immune from that type of attention and the potential fallout puts anyone at risk—from the frontline employee to the senior executive.

Justin Robbins

Is it really worth the risks or will you work to ensure that you can assure your customers of your contact centre’s reliable accessibility?

Don’t roll the dice on whether or not something like a contact centre system outage will leave you and your customers helpless.

For more from Talkdesk on this topic, read their white paper: eBook: How to Understand the Impact of Contact Center Outages

Author: Robyn Coppell

Published On: 25th Mar 2019 - Last modified: 26th Mar 2019
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