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4 Tips for Dealing With Customer Service Centers

A new survey shows dissatisfaction remains high, but there are ways to help

Customer Contact Center

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A report evaluated customer experience with service centers based on what happened before, during, and after the customer service contact.

An annual survey released Tuesday pretty much confirms what you suspected: Many customers remain unhappy with customer service contact centers, and things haven't gotten better in recent years.

The new survey by the CFI Group, which provides business insights and customer experience measurements to clients, ranks customer satisfaction with contact centers at 68 on a scale of zero to 100. That is unchanged since last year and remains the lowest since 2010.

The survey looked at six major businesses that rely heavily on contact centers: banks and credit unions, retail, property and casualty insurance, cable/satellite TV, health insurance and cellphone service. The television providers ranked lowest, with a score of 61, while the property and casualty insurance industry was tops at 75.

In another unsurprising finding, the survey found that only 6 percent of phone customers who connected with an interactive voice-response system were satisfied with the resolution. “By the time customers call customer service, they are no longer looking for self-service; they want to speak with a live rep who can help them quickly,” the survey noted.

But not all experiences with telephone customer service have to end in frustration. Here are a few tips that might help.

  • Take it to another platform. Many companies have customer service accounts on Twitter, and they may be more responsive because it’s a public forum. However, keep in mind Twitter’s 140-character limit and keep the discussion focused on the actual issue, not your feelings about the issue.
  • Have a reasonable, specific solution in mind. Don’t assume the call center rep is going to come up with one for you. 
  • The "supervisors" in call centers might not help. They’re there to supervise the employees. Some call centers have what is known as an “escalations lead,” who's designed to take such calls, but supervisors often can’t make decisions and won’t accept calls at all.
  • Remember that the person on the other end isn’t to blame. They’re probably trying to follow a script to provide you with service and may not be empowered to solve problems. In short: Raw anger probably won’t get you far.

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