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When it comes to customer service, the contact centre has a pretty prominent role to play. However, whatever the mode of communication, we’ve all experienced some form of frustration across our interactions, whether it’s the choice of hold music, the length of hold time, or the tone of voice used by an agent.

To understand more about today’s contact centre customer frustrations, we recently polled, you, our LinkedIn audience, about your contact centre habits and preferences. When asked, “As a consumer, which method is your preference for communication to resolve a query or answer a question?” a whopping 60% of people said they prefer to speak to an agent over voice channels, compared to self-service tool such as chatbots (27%), email (8%) and social media (5%). Given consumers’ predisposition to text and chat channels, this demonstrates that the interaction and empathy of speaking to a real-life agent is as popular as ever. Sometimes, we just need to speak to another human being.

Our poll also looked at what frustrated consumers the most about speaking to an agent. When asked “When opting to speak to an agent directly, what is your biggest bugbear?”, there was again a clear front runner, with 57% of people saying that sitting on hold was their biggest pet peeve about speaking to an agent. Their other aggravations where a manual ID&V process (22%), a lack of empathy from the agent (16%) and a rushed conversation with an agent (5%).

So how can contact centres keep consumer preferences in mind and ensure frustrations for their preferred channel of choice are kept to a minimum?

Here are IPI’s three top tips to help with contact centre customer frustrations:

  1. In-queue call back

As our poll shows, long queue times are massive sources of customer dissatisfaction. Not only do they frustrate customers, causing them to drop the call or meaning they’ll be unhappy when they do eventually get through to an agent, but they also reflect poorly on your brand and can be a major cause of complaints.

IPI’s solution? Q4 Me. This automated speech self-service solution monitors queuing times and can automatically offer callers the option of being called back. You can also vary the point during at which Q4 Me is offered. If there’s a massive spike in call volume, for example, you may decide to offer a call-back immediately when a caller connects. You can also contact the customer within a defined time period or at a convenient, agreed time in the future. The result? You don’t lose a call, you meet your SLAs, you optimise the number of agents you need at any given time AND, the customer journey is streamlined.

You can read how one of our clients, a travel industry heavyweight, optimised its customer journey through Q4 Me here.

  1. Automated Identification & Verification

Having to manually verify your identity when on a call with an agent can be tiresome, as you try to remember one of many passwords, recall what you used as your security question, and enter the pin code you set up years ago. It can be nigh-on impossible to remember all these details sometimes, and can be particularly frustrating when you’re unable to speak to an agent after all that rigmarole.

IPI’s automated Identification & Verification (ID&V), or ID Me, reduces these frustrations by using the uniqueness of every individual’s voice. Deploying over a hundred physical and behavioural factors, the solution’s voice biometrics integration uses voice patterns to produce unique identification for every caller, making it a powerful authentication tool and allowing you to protect against fraudsters, reduce costs, and streamline the customer journey – helping them complete ID&V in as little as five seconds.

  1. Capturing Customer Intent

There is nothing more frustrating than waiting on hold, being finally put through to an agent…only to find out it’s the wrong department. This can then start a never-ending cycle of being connected to department after department, with no resolution to your query in sight. This can lead to customers dropping calls and can give your brand a bad reputation.

Our IPI Cloud AI suite of self-service applications in the cloud (including Q4 ME and ID Me) use Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning capabilities to help customers reach the right agent – the first time around. With AI and NLP technology, contact centres can automatically capture customer call intent and other information that is used to deliver the customer to the right agent, in the right team. As the agent will also have this information displayed, they can get to work helping the customer without delay.

Conclusion

Reducing contact centre customer frustrations is priority number one for contact centres, but this doesn’t have to involve a complicated technological process. At IPI, our AI-powered solutions are built specifically for the contact centre and are lightweight and easy to implement, helping contact centres to increase first call resolution rates, reduce stress on agents, reduce call waiting times and above all else, improve the customer experience.