First they need training

Ruth Prickett’s article on the failure of call centres to satisfy customers highlights mounting concerns, which the contact centre industry must tackle without delay. For many customers the only direct relationship they have with a brand is via its call centre.

As a provider of outsourced contact centres, one of the most mystifying issues for me is that many brand owners still fail to see call centres as important extensions of their brands – as part of the communications mix. Money spent on advertising and direct mail campaigns to reinforce a brand’s proposition and values may as well be poured down the drain if customers hit hurdles as

soon as they phone the call centre.

Good customer service is therefore the first priority – and in a well-managed call centre where employees are trained and motivated, they can act as ambassadors of the brand. Should they not be, customer perceptions of the brand can be irrevocably damaged.

Companies that give their agents the opportunity to understand the culture of the brand they’re representing will quickly see a return – agents will be able to give customers a consistent experience, helping to underpin longer-term relationships. Studies show that staff churn can also be reduced by getting agents involved with brand strategy, which again is crucial to the relationship agents have with customers.

I agree with Demos Samsatli that it can take just one bad experience with a product or service for a customer to stop their entire dealings with the brand. The call centre industry cannot be apathetic about this – it must act now.

Phil Crossley

Head of sales and marketing

Arvato Services

Liverpool

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