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Call is still critical to customer
satisfaction… Here’s why

By Dan Vanrenen | February 2021

Customer service calls, commonly dubbed as outdated and inefficient, still deliver the highest customer satisfaction ratings.

Despite the inexorable rise of live chat as a preferred mode of support, with 41% of consumers stating this as their number one channel versus 32% preferring call-based solutions according to research by Kayako, phone-based interactions continue to come up trumps in the satisfaction charts.

While live chat commands the second-highest customer satisfaction ratings at 85%, Zendesk research shows that phone support leads the way with 91%.

Many will ask how this is the case. Never-ending call queues with intermittent robotic messages reminding you there are higher volumes of calls being handled than usual – it is a situation that is as relatable as it is frustrating.

However, call has always been a staple of customer care. The origins of customer service as we know are rooted in the development of the telephone since it was invented in 1876. The first switchboard arrived in 1882, a breakthrough which enabled multiple calls to be handled or directed.

The first call centres popped up in the 1960s in the offices of major telephone organisations, their purpose being to handle operator enquiries. Following decades saw large businesses adopt equivalent setups in order to make calls en masse to the consumers in order to sell products and services. As soon as the toll-free ‘800’ landed, the dynamic changed and call centres soon were taking more and more inbound calls.

Consumers, on average, are willing to wait
for 11 minutes on hold before hanging up.

Consumers, on average, are willing to wait for 11 minutes on hold before hanging up.

There are reasons as to why the customer service phone call has stood the test of time, despite the rise of more technologically sophisticated customer support channels.

The most obvious is that consumers still want to be heard when it comes to queries or concerns, and the easiest, most literal way of achieving this is via an actual conversation. Statistics show that 57% of customers ranked call support as their initial channel preference for flexible communication, while 58% prefer to resolve urgent issues by speaking to a human as opposed to using other channels.

There are tangible benefits to this. The personal nature of one-to-one telephone chats can be a great way for companies to build relationships and reinforce positive experiences with their customers.

The belief still holds true that speaking directly to someone who has the ability to resolve your query is the most likely way to achieve your objective.

Call-based customer service – challenges and top tips

It would be wrong to assume, however, that provisioning customer service phone calls comes without its challenges.

Firstly, customer expectations are changing all the time. For instance, 59% of customers have higher  customer service  expectations than they had a year ago, and three in four of customers  feel it takes too long to reach an agent. Further still, the  primary  reason  customers  dislike calling companies is not being able to speak to a real person straight away.

These are issues which are important to overcome, and failure to do some can come at grave financial cost to a business.

A negative call experience can lead to a loss of customers, people who are far more expensive to replace than keep hold of.

The figures back this up. More than six in 10 consumers stop doing business with a company after a poor service experience – be it an email that is not replied to, a frustrating chat bot exchange or an infuriating phone call.

Once that customer is lost, the cost of onboarding a new customer is estimated to be anywhere between five and 25 times more expensive than retaining them.

So, what can do your business do to provide best-of-breed phone assistance, satisfy customers and ultimately end up on the right side of these statistics? In our white paper, Best of Breed Customer Service, we offer four critical pieces of advice:

 

Respect your customers;

• Ensure service agents are knowledgeable;
• Channel customers to the right agent;
• Make sure you’re well resourced.

 

While new, sophisticated technologies and ever evolving digital interactions have ensured customers now have a multitude of ways of contacting companies, the call centre is still very much a critical component in providing a helpful, honest experience.

So, what can do your business do to provide best-of-breed  phone  assistance, satisfy customers  and ultimately  end up on the right side of these statistics? In our white paper, Best of Breed Customer Service, we offer four critical pieces of advice:

Respect your customers;

• Ensure service agents are knowledgeable;
• Channel customers to the right agent;
• Make sure you’re well resourced.

While new, sophisticated technologies and ever evolving digital interactions have ensured customers now have a multitude of ways of contacting companies, the call centre is still very much a critical component in providing a helpful, honest experience.

To find out more about customer satisfaction download our E-book now.

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