Americans Still Gravitate To The Phone To Berate Customer Service Reps

By Mike Dolloff, Chief Revenue Officer

In a highly unscientific poll conducted on LinkedIn, I recently asked what medium would you choose to resolve a cell phone bill that was incorrect for the 5th month in a row. Now I do want to mention we didn’t include any nuclear options which is how we all would feel after 5 months of the same. Two-thirds of respondents said they would go to the phone when given the option versus chat, email, and social media.

Time Is A Valuable Asset To Waste

When it comes to reasons why people wouldn’t take to the phone documenting the conversation was the biggest reason for chat. Yes, conversations are recorded, however, how often does a customer ask for a recording of that conversation? Documenting a conversation especially after 5 months of the same issue is important.

Chat is a convenient way to connect on an issue while still going about your day, on the couch, or on the go. It allows the company to get back with you on your time, not theirs, and bypass the hold music. “You have already wasted my time, I am NOT giving you any more of it”. That response is very telling, and if you are not selling back customers their time in some way shape or form, you will lose them. Having a chat/SMS option available in the contact center isn’t optional, it is mandatory.

Blast ‘Em? I wouldn’t Put It Past ‘Em!

Those that wanted to gravitate towards Social Media are after blood. Customers are more likely to share a negative experience than a positive one. Think about all of the efforts your brand puts into great positive content, customer reviews, case studies, customer experiences. Think people are sharing that or how bad they were treated? One of my most viewed and engaging posts was when I shared how my wife spent 2 hours on hold with a company. It got way more engagement than when I raved about how much I love our local pizza place!

Before The Evaluation Of Where You Are Today In Your Contact Center

Understanding where you are at today, and taking a deep look at where you want to be is key in the entire journey. Asking some basic questions of where you have been helps you understand where we need to go:

  • Are you utilizing the right technology in the contact center?
  • Are you using out of date technology?
  • Do you have the right pieces in place but they aren’t playing nice together?
  • Do you have the time to evaluate or are you mainly putting out fires in survival mode?
  • What is the pain your agents feel on a daily basis
    • Is the pain in the process?
    • Is the pain in the technology?
    • Combination of both?
  • What is the pain your customers feel on a daily basis
    • Is the pain in your product or service?
    • Is the pain in communicating with you about your product or service?
    • Combination of both?

Acknowledgment Matters With Customer Experience

When it comes to the comments on why a phone call was preferred there was a range of reasons:

  • Real-time resolution (hopefully)
  • My preferred other options have been exhausted
  • This feels like ‘escalation
  • I want someone to hear my plight and have empathy
  • Speed / Real-time resolution (hopefully)
  • A tried-and-true option

I think the reasoning behind a phone call can be distilled into one reason: acknowledgment. Customers want to feel like they are heard, and someone is going to resolve the issue for them. A phone call provides instant acknowledgment or at least should provide that if the customer service team is trained correctly.

Omnichannel Matters In The Contact Center

Everything works some of the time, but NOTHING works all of the time. Many would prefer to use chat, SMS and social media to resolve their issues for convenience, but there isn’t a built-up trust that the urgency or emotional connection will come through in those channels.

Note that companies that are working on your customer engagement strategy! That sense of urgency and empathy is hard to convey over a chat. With all of that considered, there are still people who prefer options besides a phone call. Options are a beautiful thing and customers demand an omnichannel approach in the Contact Center.

If You Are Hiding Your Phone Number You Are Losing Business

While you may think customers don’t need a call option, my unscientific poll proves you wrong in so many ways! Seriously though as much as technology has helped us, the power of a conversation matters with Customer Experience in the Contact Center.

Want to join in on my unsanctioned polls and discussions on Customer Experience, Contact Center Content and so much more? Let’s connect on LinkedIn and hop on in, the water is fine!