Best Practices to Stop Irritating Your Customers

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The latest issue of Consumer Reports published a study on the top irritants consumers have with customer service. While the findings were not exactly surprising, they are disappointing. At least 10 of the 17 items listed can be addressed with simple technology updates. The question we keep asking ourselves is ‘Why are brands using antiquated systems when we know that these practices are exasperating customers?’ I find it mind-boggling that 74% of consumers have been disconnected when attempting to contact customer service and 66% have experienced long hold times and have repeatedly been asked for the same information– no wonder they are irritated! Top Irritants of Customer Service

Transforming the contact center from a siloed multi-channel environment to a self-service friendly omni-channel environment would address the majority of issues that annoy consumers. My advice is to brands that are serious about transformation is to ensure that the following functionality is enabled:

Experience continuity. It’s clear that repeating information annoys consumers. Aspect’s “Context Cookies” enables customers to pick up an incomplete transaction at any time, on any channel while keeping the context of their interaction intact.

Self-service. The first thing many consumers do when they want to interact with a company is try to complete the transaction themselves. They might look on your website for answers or ‘Google’ it or browse through video tutorials. Make it easy for them to find the information they are seeking.

Expert Agents. With self-service options available for simple tasks (updated account information, bill payments, simple FAQs, etc.) promote your agents to experts. Agents should be available to assist with complex inquiries and because the simple tasks will be handled via self-service agents will be easier to reach.

The Consumer Reports survey indicates several areas where brands can improve their customer service. The good news is that a few technology enhancements can address the majority of irritants on the list.

Michael Kropidlowski