Are Contact Centers a Loyalty Leak?
The increasingly important role that call and contact centers are playing as the primary communications conduit between a company and their customers, inevitably leads to customers judging the company based upon the access and service quality the center delivers. (In a Purdue University study 92% of consumers said they formed their opinions regarding a company based upon their call/contact center experience. )
So the lowly agent in the contact center is becoming a key individual in the process of retaining customers and securing their loyalty… so then why is the overall quality of service so poor?
Most companies have failed to recognize the growing importance that the call/contact center channel plays in customer satisfaction and loyalty. Too many organizations are still focused on developing self-help environments that eliminate the need for a customer to actually speak with a company. Certainly this can reduce the cost per transaction, but there is not any opportunity to build or reinforce a relationship with that customer. Each transaction or interaction provides the opportunity to build satisfaction and loyalty or to erode it. The absence of customer intimacy must inevitably lead to erosion of customer loyalty. It is difficult to build loyalty with a machine.
With live agents, the environment exists to build or reinforce customer satisfaction and loyalty, but so does the opportunity to erode and damage the relationship. Poorly trained agents, poor availability and access, too few staff, turnover that is too high, all handicap the companies ability to deliver a positive relationship building dialogue and make it far more likely that the exchange will weaken and erode the customers connection and the positive image of the company.
The choice is ours we can make our center a strategic asset in acquiring customers and improving their loyalty, satisfaction and life time value, by investing in our contact centers and the staff that manage and work there or we can waste the millions of dollars spent on advertising and marketing to secure the customers in the first place, by delivering unprofessional, poor quality service that frustrates and drives away our customers.
The contact center can buttress loyalty or become a loyalty leak.
What choice will your company make?