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What are your callers thinking about when they spend minute after minute on hold to speak to an agent?  Probably among the thoughts would be ‘what’s taking so long’?  Studies show that up to half of all customer service calls are unnecessarily placed due to high organizational dysfunction.

A communication misstep within the customer service chain inevitably triggers a customer call to figure out what has happened with their order or shipment, for example. These unnecessary calls tie up valuable agent time, run up call center operation costs, increase customer effort and create an overall negative customer experience.

I recently placed an order online but never received an order confirmation.  Usually I get a prompt confirmation email that includes the order number and an estimated ship date, but this time I didn’t.  Of course, my credit card was charged but without my order number or my confirmation I had to call customer service to ensure my order was actually placed.

My not-so-helpful customer service agent said I had two options:  wait to see if the order arrives or to reverse my credit card charges with my bank and place the order a second time.  Something as simple as a missing order confirmation email had increased my customer effort score through the roof.

CTA-big-data-dysfuntion-assessmentWith a simple online transaction like mine, communication touch points with customers are low and that’s the customer experience expectation.  At the minimum I should receive an order confirmation and then a shipment notification.

Bottom line:  An inability to manage customer communications like order status and shipment information creates customer experience dysfunction. When your customer communications are mismanaged and customer experience strategies aren’t properly executed, the call center is unnecessarily taxed with status calls, taking agents away from other callers with legitimate product, technical and service issues.

Set your customer communication expectations from the start, test that the processes are working, and follow through to avoid customer experience dysfunction.

Some companies have a thing or two to learn about customer experience management:

“First you email me to tell me my order is backordered two weeks.  Then the order shows up the next day and you sent me the wrong thing.  You really need to get it together over there.  I’m ready to cancel the entire thing.”

“I’ve had to call your customer service line three times to sort out my return.  I don’t understand why I have to keep calling and calling and why my account record is never updated so I have to repeat my problem at every call.  You are the only company I’ve ever dealt with that doesn’t seem to have a clear cut return policy.”

“I’ve had two customer service agents call me to see how I enjoyed your product when I have yet to receive it.  Your left hand doesn’t seem to be talking to your right.”

“Yesterday, I got an email that you shipped my product and gave me an estimate of three days from now.  I won’t be home so I made arrangements to have someone at the house that day because you said I had to sign for it.  Then I get an email last night saying that my package had been delivered – YESTERDAY.  Yes, there it was on the front porch over night.”

About Dr. Jodie Monger

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.

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