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This article is an abstract of a Calabrio research report entitled Health of the Contact Center.

Customer Service Interaction – The Humans are Important

Brands are willing to spend money on customer experience. British Airways recently channeled $500 million towards an effort to revamp their in-flight experience. Delivering an excellent customer experience is a priority for both large consumer-facing brands and B2B businesses, but dollars spent don’t necessarily equate to improvements in customer service.

Even in the age of automation, chatbots, and self-service communications, the volume and complexity of human interactions with customers has increased.  Yet, many brands don’t adequately value the people on the front line as critical assets of the customer experience. Self-service tools, like text and web chat are effective in solving the most basic questions, but that leaves customer service personnel with the complicated issues. Agents don’t always feel equipped to resolve them.

New research by Calabrio, a Minneapolis based customer engagement software company, indicates that focus on the humans in the equation, customer service representative and contact center agents, is necessary to ensure the highest levels of customer service and consistently exceptional customer experiences.

Calabrio surveyed 1000 contact center employees in the US and UK. Here are a few of their findings:

  • 56% of agents indicate that complex issues are the most challenging part of the role
  • 38% are daunted by the volume of calls
  • 37% cite inconsistent customer experience across channels
  • 26% feel that contact centers are not adequately connected to the rest of the organization.
  • 65% of agents believe that call volume has increased over the last 18 months – data shows an actual increase of 39%
Everything is increasing: expectations, the emphasis on customer experience, the complexity of issues and call volume. The pressure is mounting, and brands risk agent burnout and customer churn if they fail to understand the reasons why these interactions continue to increase.

The key point: Stress levels can come through during customer interactions, causing potential damage to the brand and to customer relationships.

Putting Customer Service Employees First:

Calabrio’s advice to organizations is to put people first. According to the survey, 52% of contact center staff believe that their companies aren’t doing enough to prevent burnout. 35% are considering a career move. CSR’s desires aren’t unreasonable, though. 34% would like to have a more flexible working environment and 21% would like additional training.

Give your front-line Customer Service Team a Day to Learn and Refresh

GEA’s upcoming workshop, Exceeding Customer Expectations, is an excellent opportunity for your customer service employees to de-stress and learn new strategies for providing an excellent customer experience. The training is scheduled for Wednesday, May 9, in Macon. Click the link or the graphic for more information.

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The Health of the Contact Center report is available as a free download on the Calabrio website.