What Frustrates Customers Most?

When calling in for customer service, we all have our own individual pet peeves.  For example, some people do not like being put on hold, while others may have trouble with voice recognition systems.  There are many possible things that can turn a consumer off and create a negative impression of the company.

Consumer Tipping Points, a recent benchmarking survey released by ClickFox, indicates the things that create the most frustration for people seeking customer service.

#1.  Having to speak with multiple agents and start over every time (42%):  It is bad enough having to explain your problem in the first place, but being forced to regurgitate the situation to numerous different agents is the single most frustrating thing, according to nearly half of all consumers surveyed.  This commonly happens when the initial agent does not have the ability to resolve the issue, and must escalate the case to a different support level.  Often, he or she will do a cold transfer, which is simply sending the caller on to another agent, essentially starting from scratch.  A more effective solution would be a warm transfer, where the initial agent outlines the problem to the next agent before connecting the caller.  This way, the new agent already has a good handle on the situation, and the caller does not have to repeat him or herself, thus avoiding a lot of unnecessary frustration.  An alternate solution would be to increase the level of training and expertise for front line customer service representatives.  This would give them the ability to solve more problems, thereby reducing the number of different support levels required, and lowering the overall number of transfers in general.

#2.  Being kept on hold for long periods of time or not getting the problem resolved on the first try (17%):  Time is valuable to everyone, and people have better things to do than be kept waiting on the phone.  A customer service call should function like an efficient fast-food drive-thru.  You drive up to the order station (place the call), order your food (explain the problem), pick your meal up at the window (the agent resolves the problem), and drive away (hang up).  Keeping the customer waiting for extended periods during any point of this process can be very annoying.  Also, a customer service representative who does not resolve the issue during the first call would be like a drive-thru attendant forgetting the French fries, forcing the person to go through the drive-thru all over again.

#3.  Rude or inexperienced representatives or difficulty navigating a website (13%):  This one is a no brainer.  Dealing with rude or unpleasant people is never enjoyable, and speaking with agents who do not know what they are doing is not much fun either.  This problem can be remedied by taking the time and effort to hire genuinely nice, friendly people, and by providing adequate training for customer service agents.  Getting the right people in place and getting them prepared for the job will also help cut back on employee turnover, which can be a huge problem in the call center industry.  The other part of this response, difficulty navigating a website, is also very important because visiting the company website is often one of the very first ways that people interact with a business.  Being turned off by an unattractive or convoluted web page may end up deterring many potential customers.  The most effective corporate websites have a clear and logical design, where relevant information is easy to find.

#4.  Frequent service interruptions, or not being understood by IVR/speech recognition applications (12%):  When you pay for something, you expect it to work.  After all, you are giving them your hard-earned money.  It is not unreasonable to expect consistent and reliable service.  However, when it does come time to contact the customer support center, it sometimes can be a chore simply to reach the right person.  A well-designed IVR menu that incorporates some speech recognition can be an effective way to direct callers to the appropriate departments, but a poorly designed system that results in having to constantly repeat answers or that sends callers to the wrong departments, can be hair-pullingly frustrating.

#5.  Long windows to wait for a service technician, and fee/price increases (6%):  Most people have busy schedules, and making someone wait around for an entire morning or afternoon for the repair-person to show up can be a huge hassle.  This is especially frustrating in cases where the technician is unable to make it, and the service appointment needs to be rescheduled for another day, thus wasting even more time for the customer.  The frustration associated with fee/price increases is self-explanatory.  People like to get good value for their money, and frequent cost jumps will urge them towards considering terminating the current service in favor of a competitor.

Understanding the most common sources of customer service frustration is extremely important for all contact centers, both outsourced and in house.  Only by knowing and measuring these key issues can steps be taken to fix the underlying problems, and deliver a better overall customer experience.

So, what do you think is the most frustrating thing about customer service?

 

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