Running a contact centre is difficult.

There are many components to control, and you must do all of this while processing an unending stream of customer requests.

It’s hardly surprising that some contact centre agents sound stressed or distracted on calls – or that some customers are left feeling dissatisfied after calling for help.

While some contact centre failings remain hidden from view of customers, many other issues seep out – either because they affect agent performance, or because they affect the customer experience directly.

Let’s examine some common issues – and how they can be resolved.

Poorly-equipped agents

If your agents don’t have the knowledge, skills or privileges to complete common tasks, your customers will notice. Any capability gap will lead to dissatisfied customers, and far fewer first call resolutions.

Do your agents require further training, or additional resources to support customers effectively? What are the barriers preventing you from empowering your agents?

Chaotic contact centres

We’ve all experienced noisy call centres.

You call your service provider, and the instant your call is connected you are confronted by a wall of noise.

You try to listen to the agent, but it’s hard to pick out their words from the sea of human voices, all speaking at once.

By the time the call has ended, your ears are ringing, and you can’t be sure if you cancelled an order or doubled it.

If your contact centre is noisy or chaotic, then your customers will notice. While they may suffer silently through an interaction with your contact centre, the chaos will detract from their overall experience, and may raise questions about the competence of the company.

Poor call quality

Are your agents having to shout down crackly lines? Or do all calls sound like they originate from the other side of the world? Poor sound quality – whether it’s static, distortion or the impression that your agents are taking calls from the bottom of a well – will agitate customers and reduce the customer experience.

Some customers will avoid calling if they know they will struggle to hear your words. Customers with ear conditions or hearing aids may be unable to get the support they need.

Are your agents taking calls on outdated infrastructure? Contact centre managers should routinely test the lines by making calls from different locations and networks (mobile and landline) to hear first-hand how well the agent’s voice is carried.

Disconnected systems

“Let me just open the other system.” – this is something we’ve all heard from contact centre agents. And although it’s not a bad thing per se, it may be a sign that systems could be better integrated. Or it may be an indication that agents would benefit from robotic process automation (RPA) to create a bridge between systems, rather than relying on cutting and pasting to get things done.

Transferring calls

Your customers want to make one call and resolve their issue. They may need to speak to another agent in a different team, but at least you can transfer their call. What’s that? You can’t transfer their call? And you need them to hang up and dial another number? There are few faster ways to annoy and frustrate your customer than to play tennis with their call.

If you must transfer callers to another agent, make sure you can do it for them, automatically, and that the nature of their request is outlined to the new agent, so the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves.

Disengaged agents

If your agents are frustrated by your technology, irritated by your policies or insulted by your working conditions, then they will be ineffective as agents. Their ill-feeling will radiate down the line, leaving the customer with a sense of dissatisfaction.

Are your systems easy to use? Are your agents well trained and fairly remunerated? It may be impossible to deliver an exceptional customer experience until your agents feel valued, respected and integral to the organisation.

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