How many bad customer experiences will your customers endure before they decide to go elsewhere? Three? Perhaps four, if they’re feeling generous?
Surprisingly, no – the modern consumer isn’t particularly renowned for their patience. In fact, 33% of customers said they’d stop doing business with a brand, even if they ‘loved it’, after just one bad experience. That figure jumps to 59% following several bad experiences.
This explains why, throughout 2018, 84% of adults switched providers 1.91 times; three times the frequency of five years ago [CallMiner Index]. What was acceptable then is clearly not now.
Although the customer experience is important for customers, it should be considered an even higher priority for businesses, as customer churn is estimated to cost companies over £25 billion a year. Despite this, many companies still take a half-hearted approach to developing their CX technology, with some seemingly content at putting all their eggs in the self-service basket.
Now, self-service is great if:
a) the CX tech is designed well enough to be intuitive and effortless to use
b) the customer journey is simple enough to be able to be completed online, without assistance
If it is not, then when your customers do reach out for more information, or more clarity, or for more personalised assistance – and they will – you need to ensure your contact centre agents are ready and armed with a full arsenal of digital tools to offer a customer experience that truly meets their customer expectations. If customers are unhappy with that contact centre interaction, then you run the very real risk of losing them.
The Point Of No Return
Despite only 36% of customers listing the phone as their preferred method of interaction with companies, 61% actually use the phone to contact companies, which suggests that something often triggers the need to reach out to a contact centre agent.
Top reasons (Contact Babel) cited for customers reaching out to a contact a centre include problems with charges (65%) followed by issues with the product or service (60%). As these sensitive and complicated issues are rarely solved quickly or sufficiently in self-service, customers often resort to seeking specialised support from a human agent.
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
Contact centres can therefore play a pivotal part in the battle to reduce customer churn. As such, each contact centre interaction has an incredibly high stake. While 72% of customers said they were likely to switch if they had a bad contact centre experience, 71% said good contact centre experiences were likely to encourage brand loyalty.
What makes a good contact centre experience? Well, it obviously depends on the specific situation, but assuming customers are reaching out for assistance with complicated transactions or questions relating to billing queries, then a good contact centre interaction is one where the customer leaves feeling valued, and with their questions answered.
In a traditional contact centre interaction over the telephone, customers are unable to see the particular product, or the specifics of a bill that is being discussed, which makes it all the more difficult for them to comprehend. If, however, agents are able to explain products, packages, services and bills by live-sharing their screen with customers, then the customer will be much more likely to have a more engaging and enjoyable customer experience, and much less likely to leave.
Old, primitive contact centre practices, such as agents reading out bloated T+C scripts and inadequate product and service descriptions, do nothing but exasperate. Remember, just because a customer is contacting you via the phone doesn’t mean you need to adhere to the traditional limitations of a telephone interaction.
By empowering customer contact centre agents with the technology to explain, share, show, sign and collect documentation as if they were there in person, the customer can do everything they could in a face-to-face interaction, but in the convenience of a remote journey. In offering a more engaging and satisfying contact centre experience, businesses can dramatically reduce journey times, improve conversion, compliance and efficiency rates, and ultimately make their customers feel more satisfied.
Frank Sherlock at CallMiner Index believes the future role of the contact centre agent will be an expert problem solver: “This research shows that call centre agents need to be multi-skilled and empathetic people who are capable of handling complex tasks and emotionally charged situations. They not only need, but deserve, to be provided the best possible tools, insight, coaching and guidance to be able to deliver what consumers expect.”
Being a contact centre agent is a tough job, with 40% of customers arriving annoyed, and 21% arriving confused. Help your contact centre agents become expert problem solvers by empowering them with the right digital tools. Ensure they’re given a fighting chance in the battle to reduce customer churn because limiting a contact centre interaction to just the telephone, and not making use of technology to provide a full rounded, intuitive and visual experience is like fighting, or indeed miming, with one hand tied behind your back.