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Poor Customer Service in the Contact Centre… It’s Nothing Personal!


We've probably all encountered what we consider to be poor customer service through a contact centre, whether it's calling your utilities provider, banking, mortgages, or just everyday online shopping.

There have been many excuses for poor service through the pandemic due to ill-prepared home working solutions. Those should be behind us now, although that's likely the topic of a further blog, as many companies are still leaning on this excuse!

This article covers the poor experience we get when it really isn't personal. What I mean by that is that for the majority of our calls to contact centres, we are a known entity. We have a history, we have a current transactional status, and we have a pattern of how and when we usually make contact. But we are all largely treated the same, i.e. it really isn't a personal experience.

So, what has all this to do with poor customer service?

In short, there is often little or no attempt by the contact centre to reference any data relating to us until the Agent is attending to the enquiry. Along the way, we have to endure delays and a myriad of options that just don't apply to our needs.

Part of the solution is to make use of CRM / ERP data to provide an experience that matches our current circumstance or relationship with the organisation and personalise the whole experience from the start to the end of the call.

This involves actions such as:

  • Bypassing long menus of options that just aren't relevant
  • Offering automated updates on current activity, such as orders, renewals, applications, deliveries, outstanding payments etc.
  • Options to transfer to the right agent group that can assist with the current situation
  • Preparing the agent when the call arrives with recent contact history and relevant systems automatically added to their desktop, with the right records on screen

So how do we do this?

With today's Cloud-native contact centres, built on the same type of web services that many CRM and ERP systems use, it is very easy to provide a better experience by matching what we do know from the call or contact with this rich stream of information and then taking intelligent actions

The contact centre will generally be able to get access one or more of the following to start off the process:

  • Calling line ID. Mobile is by far the most used access method for telephony so this ID in almost always unique to the caller
  • Email address
  • Account number, order ID or reference number collected through keypresses or spoken input whilst waiting to be answered

Armed with this information, further details can be retrieved from CRM / ERP systems and decisions immediately taken to route your contact to the most appropriate resource queue or prioritise accordingly, while ensuring that the agent has the relevant contact history and the customer's details up on screen as soon as the call arrives.

Technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are starting to be deployed to make better sense of the information, really getting to know customer contact habits to provide a truly personal service rather than a one-size-fits-all array of menu options.

Personalised service is a great way to differentiate and stand out from the competition. There are some simple steps that can be taken straight away to put these principles into practice, but it also needs a good understanding of how each customer manages its own customer data and how that can be used to its fullest effect.

To this end, Exponential-e partners with Puzzel and Five9 for our Contact Centre as-a-Service offering. Both companies offer off-the-shelf integrations with common applications, such as ServiceNow, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle and Zendesk, plus a rich set of tools to make integration for many others quick and easy.

These integrations will allow the contact centre to provide many of the steps we can take to make customer service properly personal and deliver great experiences for our customers' customers.

Couple this with a consultative approach to identify areas where we can help, and we can take the conversation away from products and more towards outcomes. Just contact us to get started!

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