Customer frustration: It's not personal

Ashley Sava

February 5, 2020

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It’s no secret that when most customers dial call centers, it’s a last-ditch effort. Customer frustration often comes down that phone line loud and clear, and your reps just have to deal with it.

Don’t take it personally, though. Just as phone calls have been rapidly declining when compared to communicating via texting, instant messaging and emails, the instinct to call for customer service has also been dwindling down. In the age of instant gratification, most people don’t want to wait for a call center representative to answer a call. What’s more, when connected to an agent, customer frustration occurs more often when getting put on hold or being transferred.

Remember, they're not calling because they want to 

According to Tethr's Chief Product and Research Officer, Matt Dixon’s “The Effortless Experience,” “the majority of your customers are starting on the web and most callers have likely switched to phone as a choice of last resort.” Last resort doesn’t sound pleasant. That’s because it isn’t. 

The world has become accustomed to self-service first. People are used to doing things for themselves and even get satisfaction out of it. Most will exhaust all other avenues (chat support, email, social media, search engines) before dialing a phone for help. There is also a huge discrepancy between how customers want to be served (predominantly online), and how companies think they want to be served (over the phone.) 

In other words, by the time a customer is connected to an agent, they are already at the threshold of customer frustration.

That being said...

Customer frustration: The pressure’s on

By the time a rep receives a phone call from a customer, the customer has already tried to seek out the answer themselves and that they fully expect the agent on the other end to have the answer. If the rep isn’t able to address the issue from the first call, then the customer will walk away from the interaction with a bad taste in their mouth that they might just be compelled to share with the world. 

When call center agents don’t have the authority to make a solid decision, customers are increasingly less willing to wait for that call to be transferred. What’s the point of wasting all of this time on the phone when no one has the jurisdiction to fix the problem?

A whopping 78 percent of consumers permanently change how they feel about a company based on a single interaction with the contact center, according to this Qualtrics study. Customers are four times more likely to leave a service interaction disloyal than loyal.

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Channel switching is a high-effort experience

Channel switching occurs when a customer is forced to bounce between multiple channels in an attempt to settle an issue because they couldn’t get it resolved the first time. (Cue that customer frustration.) With the help of the Tethr and our Effort Library, it’s easy to get to the root of what’s causing this behavior and measure the impact it has on overall call volume over time. Use Tethr’s channel switching categories to track down how many calls your organization is receiving in a given time frame from customers who first mention trying to resolve their issue through another channel. This gives you a baseline to measure against and gives you a sense of the potential reduction in call volume you could achieve by preventing these calls from happening.

An effortless experience is more important than ever

Millennials (who now make up one-quarter of the U.S. population) grew up with years of technological experience. Gen Z (who is now surpassing Millennials in size) has never lived without advanced technology. The world is now filled with people who are used to figuring things out for themselves. It’s not uncommon for them to believe a customer service agent will get it wrong, which is another reason to ensure your call center agents are making the customer experience simple, efficient and painless

You can now measure customer frustration and effort using the Tethr Effort Index (TEI). Using TEI, you can get the insights you need to immediately improve the customer experience so that your service interactions can keep customers loyal instead of having them run for the hills.

Start diagnosing your biggest effort drivers today.

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