According to a UK CallMiner study, customers’ preference for phone customer support has increased by 14%, only second to text message-based support which grew by 38%. However, their preference for social media-based support and website-based support declined by 27% and 34% respectively.
Price is also a less important factor when it comes to customer churn. Customers now place increased importance on customer experience, fair treatment and loyalty when deciding to switch providers.
This means that contact centres are becoming increasingly important in reducing customer churn and attracting new consumers. CallMiner also found that 84.1% of consumers were likely to stay loyal after a positive experience with the call centre while 78.4% were likely to switch providers after a bad experience.
Providing self-service options isn’t enough
In this day and age, customers want to find answers to their questions quickly. Self-service applications allow customers to get what they need without having to wait for a response from a customer service officer and an increasing number of customers prefer self-service options.
Companies also prefer providing self-service options as it decreases call volume, frees up customer service officers to answer more difficult queries and proactively engage top customers, and reduces the amount of resources required to respond to queries.
In fact, call centre agents may need to play a more proactive role. Customers who call in are usually already frustrated at not being able to find the information they need online or getting a response online, so agents need to be adept at handling unhappy customers and shifting customer sentiment from negative to positive.
Customers are also typically calling in for more complex questions that can’t be easily solved with self-service applications. Call centre agents can no longer settle for basic knowledge about the company and its processes. They need more advanced training so that they can handle the higher volume of sensitive and complex queries.
Great call center agents who deliver excellent customer service and are able to solve customers’ problems have a considerable impact on the customer experience. 33.9% of customers had their emotional state shift from negative to positive from their previous call with a company, while 18% of customers had a change of emotional state from positive to negative due to poor agent behavior.
Equip your call center agents
Call center agents should undergo an extensive training program to help them understand how to handle frustrated customers. Review customer calls and choose samples to use for training to help them understand what to do when they face a frustrated customer.
Equip your agents with the tools to access all the information about the customer account easily so that they can quickly get a background of the customer and understand how to help the customer handle their complex query.
Speech analytics tools also help call center managers and supervisors analyze all the calls made by a certain agent to understand specific knowledge gaps they may have. You can then tailor training programs to their needs.
The growing importance of call centers
As more customers rely on phone support, call centers play an increasingly important role in shaping the customer experience and reducing customer churn. Agents need to be able to handle complex queries and skillfully change the customer’s emotional state from negative to positive.
This can translate into higher customer satisfaction which translates into benefits for the company’s bottom line when customers come back to buy and refer other customers to your business.