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The other day I was talking to one of our long-time clients and she said, “Jodie, we’re running out of people that know stuff here.” I hung up the phone and thought simpler and truer words have never been spoken. Where did all of the smart call center agents go? The skilled-labor shortage is at an all-time high across many industries, and it means we have unqualified people doing jobs they shouldn’t be, semi-qualified folks that aren’t doing as much as they can and jobs that are just plain left vacant because the right candidate can’t be found.
So what suffers when smart call center agents leave?
The customer experience! Customers pay the price in large and small ways, in obvious and subtle ways, when smart call center agents leave. When billing software isn’t installed and operating properly, company processes are not customer-friendly, and agents answering calls aren’t astute multitaskers, everyone feels the pain.
Here’s what some customers had to say:
“I haven’t received an electric bill in over three months and no one at your company can tell me why. What the heck is going on over there?”
“When I called to get information on my order the agent told me to “hang on” because he “wasn’t a computer person” and couldn’t navigate between the order screens quickly. I can’t believe this is who you have answering the phone.
“I went into your store the other day and I asked one of the associates a simple question and she shrugged her shoulders. I asked if there was a supervisor around I could ask and she told me he probably didn’t know either. I took my business elsewhere – that’s for sure!
Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics and a pioneer in voice of the customer research for the contact center industry. Before creating CRMetrics, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.