Your customers are annoyed at you.

When your call center agents do annoying things, it has a large influence on their perception of your business. For most customers, the only interaction between them and your company is through your customer service agents. Agents are the front line in keeping your customers happy, yet many companies provide a less than stellar agent-customer interaction experience. A recent survey conducted by commissioned by American Express titled the 2011 Customer Service Barometerfound that 56% of consumers said that they lost their temper with a customer service professional.  Would you want half of your customers to be angry at your business and switch to a competitor? I didn’t think so. Let’s examine the ways your agents are frustrating your customers.

Let Me Speak With Your Supervisor!

Consumers don’t like canned scripts. It makes sense, they want to feel like a valued customer, not a machine on a line. In addition, customers don’t like having to call back because your lines are busy. Here’s are some of the biggest annoyances:

  • Defensiveness – Have you ever talked to a customer service representative that simply refused to apologize, instead blaming you for a problem. The adage “the customer is always right” holds true here. If your agents are rude and unfriendly, customers will get angry. Train your agents to express empathy, apologize, and to try to find out what the customer wants. Don’t make customers the enemy; a customer with a problem is an opportunity give solutions and build relationships that create loyalty.
  • Incapable agents – Customers want their problem solved. They don’t want unhelpful solutions or incomplete advice. They don’t want agents who can’t answer their questions. If your agents constantly need to transfer callers to other departments because they can’t answer questions, you need to retrain your agents. Talking to an agent should add value and resolve problems, not lead to a long cycle of transfers. Nearly a third of the respondents in the 2011 Customer Service Barometer survey found the phrase “We’re unable to answer your question. Would you please call this number so that you can speak with a representative from another team” the most annoying.
  • Repeating information – When customers say something once they expect to be heard. You would be annoyed if you had to repeat your situation 10 times. Customers view your organization as one entity, where communication flows instantly between employees. Don’t waste a customer’s time. Eliminate blind transfers and make sure each agent that helps a customer knows the situation before they speak to him/her.

If your customers are constantly asking to speak with supervisors, hanging up phones, or threatening to switch to competitors then you know you need to reevaluate your call center agents. Remember that they could be the first (and last) contact your customers will ever have with your business. Don’t make them angry. What annoys you whenever you talk to a customer service agent? How do your call center agents deal with irate customers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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