What is the role of contact centers in customer satisfaction?

We recently were asked this question by Call Center Life, a magazine serving the Turkish call center industry and wanted to share this content here

Question – What is the role of contact centers in customer satisfaction?
Colin Taylor – Contact and call centers are the primary conduit through which companies and increasingly everyone else communicate with their customers. On each and every contact the agent in the contact center represents the company. From a very real perspective in the eyes of the customer they ‘are’ the company. 92% of consumers form their opinions of an organization based upon interactions with that companies call or contact center .

The contact center was born out of a desire to centralize functions and activities into a single location. This consolidation allowed for economies of scale and improved standardization of policies, procedures and training. Over the past three decades contact centers have become the first and often only way that you can meaningfully interact with some organizations.

The state of customer service today is quite poor. Organizations often neglect customer service. They often provide only the bare minimum service to maintain a customer. If all of the companies marketing and selling a service provide a similarly poor quality of service then there is no advantage to a consumer to switch, brands, or suppliers.

The contact center is the best weapon an organization can possess to deliver customer satisfaction. As contact center operators we know better than any consumer or customer could, our own organization, our policies, processes and procedures. We are uniquely equipped to assist customers to intact with our organizations. We are also the best equipped to present customers with meaningful and appropriate additional products and services.

Unfortunately many organizations squander this opportunity, preferring the easy path, the route of least resistance. So the centers are often understaffed, poorly trained and have little if any empowerment to help the customers. Rather than being the customers advocate and liaison with the company, contact centers have become the first line of defence to protect a company from its own customers. The more difficult road, but the one that pays higher dividends is to design the center to serve, support and yes sell to its customers from a basis of knowledge and management of the customer experience.

All centers deliver a customer experience. As with culture it isn’t always positive. You cannot change an organizations culture by simply issuing a memo that ‘starting tomorrow we will have positive culture’. Nor can you deliver superior customer service just by adding it to a Mission Statement. To deliver superior customer satisfaction you need to understand the customer experience; the level of customer satisfaction that is being delivered today; and develop the customer experience that you believe will result in superior customer satisfaction. With this view in hand and a future state envisioned, a call center can the begin to develop a roadmap to get from point A to point B.

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