Yet the increasing reliance by mid-market enterprises on “contact” centers—which handle all the various forms of online communication with customers, as well as actual phone calls—also opens them up to the huge vulnerability of frustrating customers with poor service.
“Customers are tired of dealing with poor customer service and they are starting to leave behind companies that treat them poorly,” Corvisa CEO Matt Lautz told Mid-Market CEO Briefing.
In fact, 48% of respondents to a new survey by the call-center provider said they have stopped doing business with a company due to negative customer-service experiences in the past year. Additionally, nearly one-quarter of millennials warned that they would stop doing business with a company after just one such negative interaction.
The frustrations led 18% of respondents to yell at a call-center agent in the last year, and even more of them—40%—to hang up the phone. The biggest pain points are long hold times, robotic-sounding agents and a lack of proactive, problem-solving behavior on the part of the agents.
Yet, the survey by Milwaukee-based Corvisa showed that 41% of customers still rank phone calls as their top method of communicating with customer service, even in the Internet age. This number increases to 56% when customers are frustrated.
Among the biggest causes of frustration for consumers is wait times: 78% of respondents said they would hang up if they have to wait on hold for more than 15 minutes, and one-quarter would do so at just five minutes or less. In fact, lowering hold times is an area that the majority of respondents, 57%, believe businesses can improve on.
But Lautz emphasized that mid-market CEOs “have the opportunity to cater to customers in new ways” and avoid creating such frustrations. He included mobile and SMS applications as being on the rise among mid-market concerns, “which makes sense given that 77% of our survey respondents said they were open to getting text messages from a company they have done business with.”
He said that such technologies can help companies “connect with consumers in more convenient, proactive ways and avoid service issues that affect the bottom line.”
Overall, Lautz said, “We’ve seen larger brands implementing these technologies. But mid-market companies are starting to follow.”
And to avoid having their customers join the near-majority of American consumers who are frustrated with their dealings with contact centers, mid-market CEOs may want to take a closer look at the service they are providing, and look for ways to make improvements in the new year.