Your Call Center Sucks and Here is How You Fix It

Customer Service | Howard HuangI view call centers like the armpits of every business. It is not the most glamorous department, but if you have a call center, you most certainly have it for good reason. I have always wondered why we as consumers demand better customer service but for some odd reason the same people that make these demands can’t seem to deliver a solution when we run the business. Below are examples of why your call center sucks and how to fix it.

Call Trees Sucks

Why do they even exist? Get rid of them!

You know how when you call a customer service support line and before you are connected (or most likely put on a waiting queue) you have to listen to prompts and jump through a maze of complicated selections? Well, why do they even exist? They make me angry and create an obstacle for me to get in touch with you. Why are you putting me to work to do business with you? When I make a phone call to a business I expect to talk to a real person as my first touch point. When my first touch point is a call tree my immediate impression is this business is a pretentious scumbag.

On Hold Music Sucks

Find better music or at least try to make my wait pleasant Рis that too much to ask?

I get it, businesses get busy and if I have time, I don’t mind waiting. This doesn’t mean it is perfectly okay for you to blare music on a continuous loop. No one can maintain their sanity by listening to the same 15 second loop continually for 40 minutes straight. You are basically declaring pshycological warfare on your customers. By the time I finally get to a representative I’m already vomiting every profanity I learned in grade school.

Here are a couple of thoughts to make your customers more pleasant before you talk to them.

  1. On hold music really sucks. My recommendation is to get rid of it and replace it with actual music. Shameless plug Рmy startup sells royalties free licensed music from independent artists. You can browse and purchase them here Р Plenty of high quality music without breaking the bank.
  2. Value my time and I’ll value yours. Have the decency to tell me how long I should be expected to be waiting. Am I 3rd in queue or 30th? Give me updates perhaps after the end of every song.
  3. I don’t mind hearing about your promotions while I’m waiting just as long as you’re not force feeding them to me the entire time I’m waiting. In fact, it is a good time for me to tell me about it. During the message it is a good call to action to tell me to “mention it to my representative.”

Stop Strip Searching Me

Trust me and I’ll trust you!

What do you mean you can’t help me without my 8 digit pin number that I don’t ever remember setting up? Sometimes I feel like companies are interrogating me and strip searching me to make sure I am who I say am. What exactly is the point of this especially if my issue is something extremely basic in nature. In my opinion, 99% of all customer issues that go through the call center should be resolved with no more than one identifying piece of customer information.

Think about it this way, if I make a call and customer service is unable to resolve my issue I will have to call back again. This will 1) frustrate me as a customer and 2) waste more business resources to address the same issue again. Protecting customer information is important, but as soon as it gets more difficult for me to get through than it is for me to pass through TSA we got a problem.

Nobody Likes Sloppy Seconds…and Especially Thirds

Arm your reps with knowledge and the correct resources!

This is probably my biggest pet peeve when it comes to dealing with customer service. It completely irritates me when I have to repeat myself. I know I am not the only one in this position.

Let me explain more precisely…

After going through your call tree (aka death maze), listening to what sounds like a broken cackling record player (only much worse) for 20 minutes, and verbally bullied and interoggated about my mother’s maiden name and where I went to high school I am forced to repeat the whole damn process to another representative because I’ve reached the wrong department. Whyyyyy?!?!….

If you are going to transfer me to another person at least put in the effort to explain to the next person what my problem is. Remember, it is your job to help and not my job to figure it out. I have done my part by simply choosing to do business with you so you should try everything in your power to retain me. Don’t make your customer service department a cross departmental function. It truly cannot operate like that. Customer service cannot work in silos, the team must be armed with the knowledge of the entire business.

Now it is your turn. What frustrates you the most about call centers? Tell me your perspective on the consumer side. It is the best way for businesses to learn what they need to fix to serve their customers. Leave them in the comments below.

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