The UK is currently facing an economic crisis. The rise in the cost of living, soaring energy bills and mortgage withdrawals has meant that the average Brit will struggle over the next 12 months to have sufficient funds.
With the backdrop of economic chaos, UK citizens will rely heavily on contact centres to help ease their anxieties as they brace for the impact of the looming recession. When customers are ringing up customer service, it is most likely because they have a query, an issue needing resolving or information needing to be submitted. Our recent Moments That Matter research canvassed 2,000 UK consumers and further demonstrates the impact of a negative customer call experience.
According to our survey, 46% of consumers have been disappointed with calls to a brand over the last 6 months. With the current macroeconomic conditions causing high levels of concern, customers increasingly need human interaction with brands. Rather than immediately pointing customers to the often-unhelpful FAQs, businesses need to turn their attention to getting their customer service right. These key touch points are the moments that matter for customers.
Lights aren’t on and no one’s home
With all of the concerns that consumers will be facing in the coming months, businesses need to have their customer service up to scratch. Despite the repeated “your call is important to us”, 40% of customers are having to wait in long call queues; the ceaseless hold music isn’t answering their questions.
For example, customers who are struggling financially to pay their energy bills or food shops should be able to have human interaction for help and guidance in their time of need. Despite this, out of all sectors, FSIs are one of the worst offenders when it comes to customer call centre care.
17% of consumers say that FSIs made them wait on hold for an unacceptable amount of time, with another 20% also agreeing that they were passed between the most call agents when speaking to FSIs. Experiences such as this do nothing but create more anxiety and worries for customers, and in turn, negatively impact brand perception.
A call a day gets the customers to stay
Despite advancements in technology, research from PWC found that 82% of consumers still want human interaction. In a world where we can order food right to our front door at the tap of a button, consumers expect a high level of customer care and service. The best way for brands to achieve this is now through their genuine human interaction, such as call centres. So, why are over 30% of customers expressing frustration with having to speak to chatbots instead of a real person?
In the current climate, a brand’s best and most important asset is its customer service. Consumers are extremely cautious about their purchasing and spending habits. So, when they have a bad experience with a brand, they don’t stick around—they look elsewhere and find a business that cares about them. Building up a brand’s trust and reputation takes time, destroying it can be done in a matter of minutes.
People talk and listen. A company’s bad reputation spreads far and wide and will inhibit its ability to attract new customers as well as retain existing clients. One good experience can be highly impactful; 65% of consumers say that a single positive call experience makes them more likely to buy from a brand in the future. A call like this leads to one big payoff: brand loyalty.
Climbing the brand loyalty mountain: reaching the peak
As we look towards 2023, businesses will need to adapt to their customers’ needs. Examining consumer behaviours, preferences and expectations, business needs to build adaptable strategies that can move and grow in the changing landscape.
With the dreaded recession rearing its ugly head, businesses can’t afford to have poor customer service, particularly not when 76% of customers give up on brands and hang up within 15 minutes of waiting.
Understanding customer frustrations should be the foundation for any customer experience strategy. Mostly, these frustrations centre around being passed around various call agents, not being helped quickly enough and being put through to an automated voice or chatbot. Once these points of friction have been realised, it’s time to bring about some change.
Bringing on board tech
The main issue is that most businesses don’t have the tech solutions and tools in place to help them improve their customer call experience. Utilising call intelligence tools would bridge the gap between increasing brand loyalty whilst reducing the overall cost of call management.
There are three key challenges for call centres:
- Mapping the journey – understanding where you should focus
- Gathering intel – it is impossible to listen to every single call manually
- Ensuring top performance – understanding what causes friction and costs sales
With these challenges in mind, there are key technology solutions that businesses can implement to reach higher levels of customer satisfaction. For example, Conversation Analytics can give real-time insights into how call agents are handling calls that enables brands to pinpoint why certain agents are achieving a positive call experience. This invaluable information can then influence the training and upskilling of other agents.
Customer happiness = business success
The pandemic, the energy crisis and the cost-of-living crisis are all brewing up a storm. Businesses need to batten down the hatches and dive deeper into understanding their customer experience. Once organisations have this insight, they will find attracting potential customers as well as nurturing existing customers significantly easier.
By starting at the beginning and bringing call tracking and speech analytics software on-board, businesses can identify where their key hurdles are, and build solutions around this intel. Human interaction is key to maintaining customers and building up brand loyalty. These are the moments that really matter and lay the foundations for a successful business.
Originally published in Business Express.