7 Reasons Why USA Customer Service Is Terrible…And How To Fix It
Why is USA customer service is so terrible? Why is it done poorly in so many service centers? There are many reasons for this, just look at all the books written on this subject. We would like to focus on 7 core reasons that we have seen in many different companies and have helped correct:
Who Has the Say in your Customer Service Call Center?
Who is running your USA customer service call center? What we mean by that is it your financial department, your marketing department or your sales execs? Who has the most say, who is the squeaky wheel that always seems to have to be appeased. The mindset of the people running your center has a lot to do with the culture and the personality of your center.
Now a great center can still balance all these different aspects but when one takes over as being more important, as what happens in a lot of companies, you can have a disconnect and the customer take the brunt. If…
Financial importance is your main effort:
When this happens you feel the pressure of constantly being efficient even to a fault. High service levels do not mean as much as low AHT, Wait Times, and Wrap time. You get pressure to handle more calls in a shorter period of time. When this happens you have a couple issues, one you already are going to get irritated customers before they even get to an agent because of long wait times in queue, second when reps feel the pressure of quicker calls the service of the call drops. This has a snowball effect as well because the bigger the queue the more pressure you and each of your supervisors put on the reps to handle the next call. WE HAVE ALL BEEN THERE!! It’s funny as well when you look at the SL and Wait times for people calling in to buy something from the company… they are over staffed and the customer service is under staffed. This is true in most companies. COMPANIES STILL DO NOT REALIZE THAT SELLING TO AN EXISTING CUSTOMER WHO IS HAPPY WITH THEIR SERVICE IS SO MUCH EASIER AND CHEAPER THAT GETTING NEW CUSTOMERS… MARKETING 101!!!
Marketing/Sales is your main effort:
So many USA customer service centers, rightfully so, are trying to make their center not just a customer service center but a profit center. There is nothing wrong with cross-selling your customer service calls as long as we all understand it is an add-on. Some mistakes we see here is when:
A) Your cross-sell effort does not match your call type (we have seen crazy things that have tried to be sold just for a quick buck)
B) Your selling effort takes over as the main reason for the call.
When this happens not only are you not getting a sale but you may be losing a customer. You have to make sure you handle the customer’s issues first; build a rapport and then try to cross sell based a product that meets the needs of the customer. Do you just keep track of how many sales your reps have in a day? That’s probably posted in the room right? Your top salespeople get all the rewards right… I hope you have your quality scores and reps satisfaction scores posted as well… most don’t.
Most companies put all their education (Notice we said Education not Train, you TRAIN animals…you EDUCATE people) in how to run a specific program, skill or channel. What to look for, what screen do you have to be on, who button do you have to click. They do NOT do a great job in facilitating tone and delight in their calls. Most companies want to educate as fast as they can so they can have reps producing as quickly as possible even to the detriment to their client or customer. Remember you need to understand in the age of social media your customers will talk to others. We want them to be evangelists for our brand. We need to understand that as we educate.
No Fluid Processes
Large and small companies can all have this issue but you normally see it in large companies. When multiple departments have a say in how the customer service for their specific is to be handled you can get inconsistent and confusing service. Different 1800 numbers, transferred calls, multiple call resolution. It’s really frustrating! When you are told by a company rep that they do not handle that issue in his/her department the frustration level rises and you may have already lost that customer. Disjointed departments all handling sales/service is a huge reason for the lack of service in the marketplace.
So many companies that have in-house USA customer service centers are stuck on metrics such as First Call Resolution, SLA, TT or proprietary formulas to tell if they are good at service. These metrics should be used to diagnose and put service issues and techniques under the microscope, not be the goal. Your goal for world class service should be to have your customers become so loyal that they become evangelists for your brand to all their friends. In the age of social media this is the direction your company must be moving to. Check out our post on our the Metrics that really matter for more information.
Dependence of Self-Service ONLY
Many organizations believe that by FORCING self-service they are saving money by stopping calls going to a live agent. Show me a company that does this and I will show you one with low Customer Sat and Net Promoter Scores. Self-service is a GREAT thing when done properly. It is a needed channel. Too many organizations frustrate customers by forcing you into a long painful IVR or even worse they HIDE their 1-800 numbers. WANT TO TALK TO YOUR CUSTOMERS!!! You have limited chances to really build loyalty with your customers…dont push them away! More on using self service properly here.
Poor Call Center Culture
If your USA customer service call center is a miserable place to work then how can you expect great service from its associates?
The contact center can be a place where you can do things that you cannot do in any other department. You can yell out loud, high five, cheer each other on! You can’t do that in accounting! Show me a quiet contact center floor and I will show you one with high turnover, low quality and more importantly one that reflects that the associates are not enjoying themselves.
It does not matter if you are running a center with an insurance, banking, pure customer care or sales vertical. You can, and in my opinion, must make the environment enjoyable. Check out the Expivia Call Center Culture…how we hire and operate!
Poor Management Training
How do you educate the supervision in your USA customer service center? Do you have a training plan at all or do you just take long tenured associates and make them supervisors/team leads when a supervisor leaves? If you hire a supervisor off the street what training do you give them?
Most call center organizations that I have seen do not do a very good job in preparing their supervision for the job at hand. Many call center managers assume that because an associate did a great job on the phones they will be a good supervisor. Big mistake.
We have found that having a solid management trainee program not only trains your future managers on their job but also shows career progression to all employees which limits turnover. For information on starting your own Call Center Management Training Program click here.
USA Customer service is as much an art as it is a science. There are many great companies doing a great job with this. Unfortunately there are also too many companies that do not understand the impact of what poor service has on the company. We hope this help some of you out there to raise the level of service in your organization
At Expivia we help organizations that have some of these issues. Take a second to check us out at www.expiviausa.com
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