Do you think your call center is offering the best service it possibly can? Think before you answer. Your first instinct is probably, “Yes, of course! How dare you!” but are you really being brutally honest with yourself?
To optimize customer service, you need to know precisely what the term means and how to identify poor service in your own call center. If your service isn’t up to scratch, customers won’t stick around, costing your organization opportunities for growth and significantly damaging the bottom line. In fact, a recent study from Customer Contact Week Digital found that “60% of consumers say they would switch to a competitor after just one or two bad experiences”. If your contact center is going to survive, you need to match these expectations—if it’s going to thrive, you need to exceed them.
In simple terms, poor customer service refers to a company failing to meet customer expectations around its products or services. This could be in terms of quality, response time, follow-up, or any number of factors that influence the overall customer experience. When a customer feels their expectations have not been met, they will, of course, be less likely to give you their business again in the future. With this in mind, you need to be aware of what constitutes bad service. This is the first step towards improving service levels and retaining customers by cementing their loyalty. Bad customer service can come from many areas, including:
Let’s take a look at some examples of the worst possible customer service. This will help clarify what we mean when we speak about bad customer service and, given some of the names on this list, remind us that every organization is susceptible to falling short when it comes to customer service.
Comcast has faced frequent customer complaints as a result of recurring outages and lengthy lag times across a number of its services. Perhaps the most egregious example is the story of customer Ryan Block trying to terminate his Comcast contract. Block recorded the disastrous call and shared it online, leading to a wave of disgruntled Comcast customers sharing their experiences of the company’s poor service. Comcast did apologize eventually, but the damage was done.
AT&T is another company that faces a lot of customer complaints. The telecommunications provider has irked customers with a range of service problems, from failed calls and poor coverage to increases in data rates. As a result of these service problems, AT&T’s contact center is inundated with calls, and if the reviews appearing online are anything to go by, the company’s customer support has service problems of its own.
AOL might be a blast from the past for many of us, but plenty of people can still recall the company’s notoriously poor customer service back in its heyday. Many customers reported negative experiences when dealing with the company’s support, particularly when trying to cancel their accounts. One customer recalls being asked for his father’s death certificate as he attempted to cancel the family account. Not the best example of empathetic service from AOL.
Deep down, if your customer service is bad, you probably have some inkling already. However, it’s important to take action based on actual data, and there are certain things you can keep an eye on to determine the quality of your call center’s service. For example, your customer retention rate is a huge indicator of the standard of service. If customers are consistently receiving poor service, they’re not likely to stick around, and if this is the case, your customer lifetime value will also take a huge hit. Additionally, extra touchpoints per customer generally indicate a failure to resolve issues efficiently. The old favorites, CSAT and NPS, are also indicators of poor service; low scores in either are a sign that something is amiss. Perhaps the clearest sign of bad customer service is first-hand testimony. If customer feedback is highlighting a consistent pattern of poor service in your call center, then it’s time to investigate.
Okay, so you’ve found out that your customer service is below par. What do you do? The best approach to improving customer service standards will vary to some extent based on the specifics of your organization and the industry you’re operating in, but there are some generally applicable approaches.
You may be familiar with the phrase, “If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.” Well, some customers abide by that saying. Getting the whole truth can be tricky, particularly if the customer has an ongoing relationship with your organization. It’s up to you to collect feedback in a manner that encourages clients to share their opinions openly. Thankfully, in 2022, there are plenty of tools for gathering customer feedback.
Peer-to-peer reviews are sometimes overlooked as a means of evaluating service standards, but they can provide unique insights that you’re unlikely to get from other sources. With peer-to-peer scoring, you can get an on-the-ground performance analysis from someone who knows exactly what it takes to do the job. Agents may have a better idea of what feedback is most beneficial when it comes to improving performance and may be better equipped to articulate this feedback in an evaluation.
A peer-to-peer approach also encourages agents to take a more active role in their development and gives them a greater awareness of their responsibilities when it comes to customer service. You can also combine peer-to-peer scoring with more traditional evaluations as a means of verification. For example, a supervisor may want to review some peer-to-peer evaluations for quality control.
Ultimately, the peer-to-peer approach encourages collaboration and teamwork, frees up time and resources, and empowers agents in their roles. When it comes to conducting these peer-to-peer reviews, scorecards are the best tool to use, as they can be customized for specific requirements and easily shared among team members for real-time feedback.
The importance of customer service is undeniable. Bad customer service damages customer retention, lowers CSAT and NPS, limits company growth, and eats into the bottom line. Thankfully, given the far-reaching impact of poor service, there are plenty of ways to identify it within an organization, whether it’s a flood of negative customer reviews or sinking KPIs. If your service falls below the expected standard, the important thing is to take swift action. Scorebuddy provides a range of tools to enhance your customer experience. From root cause analysis to targeted agent training, the platform is designed to help support teams deliver high-quality service at scale. To see how Scorebuddy boosts CX for call centers, request your free demo today.