How contact centres can drive greater satisfaction

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on July 11, 2008

The ability of customer service representatives in call centres to resolve customer problems and complaints is a critical driver of customer satisfaction, loyalty, and word-of-mouth recommendations, according to CFI Group's second annual Contact Centre Satisfaction Index (CCSI).

According to the survey, overall customer satisfaction with call centres has improved, as the CCSI has increased by 3% to a score of 72 on the index's 100-point scale.

Punishing poor service
But although customer satisfaction with contact centres has increased since last year, the study found that 20% of customers had ended their contact centre experience with unresolved problems. Not surprisingly, these customers were only half as satisfied (with a CCSI score of 40 instead of 80) and twice as likely to defect as those whose problems had been solved.

According to CFI Group's study, customers tend to punish poor performance but will also reward good customer service. Customers whose issues are resolved on the first call are 49% more likely to continue doing business with the company than customers whose issues are not resolved.

The critical front line
Sheri Teodoru, CEO for CFI Group, explained: "Customer service representatives (CSRs) are on the front line of a company's interaction with its customers, so it's vitally important that they have the training and resources to do what customers expect of them."

Thanks mainly to today's multichannel environment, the study found that more and more customers are using corporate call centres as the resource of last resort. As a result, call centre agents are now likely to get a much higher proportion of the "hard questions" to which customers can't find answers through other channels. In fact, customers who tried other methods before calling the contact centre had a satisfaction score of only 64 - some 15% lower than those who called the contact centre first (75).

Don't go offshore
Although offshore contact centres are apparently doing a better job than before of solving customer problems, their satisfaction scores still lag far behind onshore contact centres (with a CCSI score of 59 compared to 75). One of the main challenges for offshore contact centres is effective communication. The study found that customer problems are 25% less likely to be resolved when customer service representatives are difficult to understand.

"As CSRs receive harder questions, communication is going to become more of an issue," warned Teodoru. "The last thing a customer wants to do is struggle with basic communication. This is particularly true when customers call the contact centre and find that the person on the other end is difficult to understand, doesn't seem to comprehend the problem, or repeatedly reads from a script."

The loyalty link
Satisfaction with the contact centre has also become a leading indicator of customer loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations. The CCSI noted that 94% of satisfied customers said they will do business with the same company again, and 91% of them will also recommend the company to others.

Percentages for dissatisfied customers were significantly lower, with only 62% saying they would continue as a customer and 39% saying they would recommend the company.

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