Many businesses view their contact centres or call centres as cost centres, rather than revenue-generating departments. While this may seem like a sensible approach to controlling costs, it can have a very negative impact on customer service. Here are some of the reasons why, and what can be done to address this issue.
The Cost of Contact Centres
One of the main reasons why businesses view contact centres as cost centres is the cost involved in running them. Contact centres require significant investments in technology, infrastructure, and staffing, all of which can add up quickly.
As a result, businesses may be tempted to cut costs by reducing staffing levels or outsourcing their contact centre operations to low-cost providers. However, these measures can lead to reduced service quality, longer wait times, and frustrated customers.
The Impact on Customer Service
When businesses view their contact centres as cost centres, they may focus more on minimising costs than on delivering exceptional customer service. This can lead to a range of negative impacts on customer satisfaction and loyalty, including:
Longer Wait Times
Reducing staffing levels can lead to longer wait times for customers trying to reach the contact centre. This can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction, especially if customers are calling with urgent or time-sensitive issues.
Reducing training and support for contact centre representatives can lead to inadequate service quality. Representatives who are not properly trained may struggle to handle customer inquiries or complaints, leading to frustration and dissatisfaction among customers.
Inconsistent Service Quality
Reducing staffing levels or outsourcing contact centre operations can lead to inconsistent service quality. Customers may receive excellent service from some representatives, while others may struggle to meet their needs. This can create confusion and frustration among customers, who may not know what to expect from the company's contact centre.
Reduced Customer Loyalty
All of these factors can lead to reduced customer loyalty and negative word-of-mouth. Customers who have negative experiences with a company's contact centre are less likely to remain loyal and more likely to take their business elsewhere.
Addressing the Issue
To address the issue of viewing contact centres as cost centres, businesses can take several steps:
Focus on Customer Satisfaction
Instead of focusing solely on cost reduction, businesses should prioritise customer satisfaction and loyalty. This may involve investing in technology and infrastructure to improve service quality, or increasing staffing levels to reduce wait times and improve service consistency.
Provide Comprehensive Training and Support
Businesses should invest in comprehensive training programs that cover all aspects of contact centre operations, from communication skills to problem-solving techniques. Training should be ongoing, with regular refreshers and updates to ensure that representatives are up-to-date with the latest products, services, and best practices. In addition, businesses can provide representatives with access to tools and resources that can help them be more efficient and effective in their roles. This may include knowledge bases, FAQs, and other support materials that can be used to quickly answer customer inquiries.
Measure Customer Satisfaction
Businesses should measure customer satisfaction and use this data to drive improvements in service quality. This may involve using customer feedback surveys, analysing customer service interactions, or monitoring social media and online reviews.
By measuring customer satisfaction, businesses can identify areas for improvement and take action to address them, leading to increased loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.
In summary, viewing contact centres as cost centres can have a negative impact on customer service, leading to longer wait times, inadequate training, inconsistent service quality, and reduced customer loyalty. However, simply by prioritising customer satisfaction, investing in training and support, and measuring customer satisfaction, businesses can improve service quality and build strong relationships with their customers.