Despite their best efforts to automate, call centers are discovering that having a live person on the other end of the phone keeps customers happy.
Customers still prefer the telephone over any other media when it comes to interacting with a company. A new study out of the U.K. says even mobile phone customers still prefer a good old-fashioned phone call. The Firstsource Solutions survey, which interviewed over 2,000 British adults, found that 40 percent of consumers choose to solve their mobile phone queries by calling a customer service agent. This isn’t to say that customers aren’t using more modern channels. Five percent of consumers surveyed reported using Web chat to resolve issues, and of those Web-chat users, 60 percent identify the channel as the fastest way to get help.
“There is no doubt that human interaction is vital to create a real connection with consumers,” said Iain Regan, executive vice president of sales and client services at Firstsource.
Call centers are always looking to improve their business. One option that is very popular is outsourcing call center services offshore, but this move must be considered with a lot of care. In choosing an offshore call center, organizations have to scrutinize the organization to make sure it meets the standards of the customers calling the center, reports TMCnet’s Frank Griffin. For most organizations, the biggest reason for looking to an offshore call center is to save money, and the many maxims about price – you get what you pay for – definitely applies. In the offshore call center ecosystem, there are many countries providing services with different degrees of expertise and qualification, so “tread carefully” is the wise caveat here.
Another way centers are looking to improve business is to incorporate social media, which today has been both a blessing and a curse for the average organization, especially call centers. A blessing because monitoring social media reveals in-depth information about how customers feel about your brand, what their complaints might be, what they are saying about competitors and what competitors are saying about you. It’s a literal treasure trove of data you likely would have had to pay to uncover in years past. It’s also a curse, because it makes lots of extra work for you. All that monitoring takes time, and the raw data needs to be aggregated and presented in a useable format, which takes manpower. Many call centers are having a hard time determining where to start when it comes to social media. But successful companies are treating it like just another channel in the multimedia call center mix and integrating it into regular contact center work.
Those are just some of the topics on the radar this past week. Be sure to check back daily for updates as they happen.