Customers don’t care about it, but will leave you because of it

Photo of Holger Reisinger
January 16, 2020
Reading time
4 minutes

The bad news: there are five issues common to Call Centers that can cause you to lose 9 out of 10 customers.

The good news: once addressed, you can make your top call agents almost twice as productive as their least industrious counterparts – boosting customer satisfaction and upping retention rates.

When someone rings in to a call center looking to resolve a problem, they’re going to be pretty selfish. They might even be angry. They’ll probably be impatient, too. And so they should be. They purchased a product or a service and, for whatever reason, something has gone wrong. They don’t care about your problems as a service provider – they simply care about their problems going away. And if you can’t help, they’ll be the ones going… directly to your competition.

What customers don’t want to deal with is an agent on the other end of the line who sounds ground down by the work, distracted and inattentive. They want a focused call, with an agent who knows what they’re talking about, and who can offer good advice or a quick and successful solution.

Yet today the conditions to meet this are more challenged than ever before. At a time when customer service calls have become more complex (24% of Call Center workers need to consult with a colleague*), the staff that specialize in these calls are evermore distracted.

Happy to hang up

Often, one of the major reasons behind this is a poor working environment. Your customers couldn’t’ care less about a Call Center’s workplace problems – but as a business manager, understanding this issue should be of prime importance. Why? Because according to PWC, 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, while 92% will completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions.

In short, your business is now experiencing the perfect storm: conditions where the odds of failing in customer service are now stacked against you.

But there’s good news, and it comes in two parts. Firstly, it’s easy to identify what causes a negative experience for your customers. Secondly, if you correct the issues, the wins are bigger than you might think. Not only will the customer be happy and more inclined to continue doing business with you, your most effective customer service employees will be 47% more productive compared to their least productive colleagues.

Five reasons why you’re failing customers

According to the Jabra study, the five issues that most negatively affect performance and productivity in today’s Call Centric workplace are:

#1. Too many interruptions from colleagues

Whether looking for advice on resolving an issue, or just wondering if they watched the big game last night, interruptions from colleagues tied as the top complaint – 25% cite it as the biggest issue they face.

#2. Noise levels

It’s obvious that the noisier an office, the harder it is to concentrate. Again, 25% of Call Centric workers said it was an issue that ruined their productivity.

#3. Too many emails.

Too many incoming messages disrupt productivity and add to a worker’s stress – 22% of respondents said it was the biggest issue they faced on a day-to-day basis.

#4. Too many calls during the day.

While your agents’ job is to take calls, there’s a critical mass. Go beyond it and productivity drops – and so too does customer satisfaction. 19% of Call Centric workers said it was the biggest issue negatively affecting the quality of their work. On average, these workers dealt with 37 complex calls each day.

#5. Lack of personal privacy.

Workspaces that are too small reduce privacy and have an impact on productivity. 19% of workers surveyed cited a lack of personal privacy as their top issue.

What’s an organization to do?

Overcoming these issues is possible, but what often prevents companies from doing so is mindset. Distractions in the workplace have been “business-as-usual” since the dawn of time, and historically very few act to remedy it – the average organization dedicates just 12% of its marketing budget to servicing existing customers.

The organizations that successfully address these five problems will be ones that invest in helping their workers better concentrate, and in doing so will deliver outstanding service over the phone. And with great service comes satisfied, loyal customers.

Call Centric customer service needs to be organized under the correct strategic leadership. Then investment in the correct supportive technology is needed, with this backed up by behavioral and cultural changes that will reduce distractions, increase task engagement, boost employee satisfaction, and drive greater productivity.

The needs of the many…

When customers phone a Call Center, they are effectively blind – they don’t see the person they speak to, they aren’t aware how many other agents are nearby, and they have no idea if they are the first call of the day, or the fifty-first.

Even if a customer were aware of the work environment they were calling, they wouldn’t care about it. It’s not their problem. Their problem is the issue they want resolved.

So there’s really only one question you need to ask. What matters most to both parties – the customer calling and the service agent picking up that call? The answer is simple: The quality of communication, and the effectiveness of the conversation within it.

And surely that’s a conversation worth investing in.

* Jabra 2017 Q3 Call Centric survey
Share the article