Call Center Services Featured Article

A Focus on the Customer Can Improve Service

August 25, 2008

In the world of customer service there seems to be a wide variety in the quality levels of the service provided. For some companies, it is enough to provide an automated system that allows customers to work their way through a series of prompts to retrieve the desired information.

For others, it is a live agent who will walk the customer through a purchase or issue resolution. The question that the company must be able to answer is: Which method is right for our business and for our customers?

If a company cannot answer this question, they are likely missing the mark on more than just their customer service deliverables. To be successful, a company must know more about their customer than just their likelihood to buy their next product or service. There are too many competitors vying for the consumer dollar and a lack of knowledge will translate into lost opportunities.

The call center is an imperative piece of the corporate puzzle. For some, it is the one interaction point between the customer and the company and therefore, the company’s one chance to make a good impression. If a customer calls and receives less than the expected level of customer service, he or she may decide to take their business elsewhere.

If the customer does so without indicating as much to the company, they have lost a sale without understanding why. In such a situation, the company not only delivered poor service, it did so unknowingly. It also lost a customer without a tie-back to the poor experience, therefore losing an opportunity for improvement.

It is situations such as these that support the push for call recording and follow-up surveys. It allows the call center to capture pertinent information from the interaction and later the customer. The call center has the opportunity to evaluate its level of service and the customer’s perception to make changes where necessary to improve deliverables and protect the customer base.

One company that has placed a priority on the customer experience with its call center is Dell (News - Alert). While searching for information in hopes of updating my system, I placed a call to the global company to ask a few questions. The purpose of my call was merely research and I had no intention of placing an order – at least not that day.

Once the call to Dell was complete, I had not only placed an order, but I spent twice as much as I originally intended to spend. Why? Excellent customer service by the call center agent.

The agent was more than just an agent for the Dell sales department. He was a knowledgeable company representative that could easily step outside of a script for a frank conversation on technology offerings and what would best fit my needs. His answers to my questions were intelligent and honest, eliminating the need for high pressure sales tactics. His straightforward, yet polite approach to handling the call ensured quick conversion from providing information to completing a sale.

If more call centers took such an approach to customer service, focusing more on satisfying the client in that interaction than the number of interactions the agent handled in a day, customer retention and revenue numbers would increase and customer churn would be nearly eliminated. But, until the company focuses on the “customer” in customer service, they will spend more time making up for those that were lost.
 
 
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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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