Practical Application: Analyzing Factors in Call Center Customer Satisfaction

Instructor: Scott Tuning

Scott has been a faculty member in higher education for over 10 years. He holds an MBA in Management, an MA in counseling, and an M.Div. in Academic Biblical Studies.

Call center customer satisfaction can be elusive because of the difficulties inherent in solving complex problems without any in-person communication. You will use the three scenarios below to identify how a call center might improve its satisfaction scores by focusing on quality.

Call Centers & Customer Satisfaction

When customers are satisfied with their call center experiences, it's usually because companies have met their expectations for accessibility, speed, and quality of resolution. You can review the lesson, Factors in Call Center Customer Satisfaction, as you consider these three domains. You'll then assess three scenarios to determine the probable reason for the poor customer experience scores and recommend some ways to improve them. Use the background information below for each of these three scenarios.

Background Information

Sarahi is the front-line supervisor for a regional call center under contract with a travel booking website that provides customer service functions and resolves issues. Recently, she's found herself on the hot seat because falling customer experience scores may threaten the call center's contract with a major client.

Scenario 1: Frequent or Hostile Callers

Last week, Sarahi's weekly dashboard alerted her to a steady decrease in customer satisfaction due to increased wait times and the poor quality of the resolutions.


How should Sarahi proceed when responding to her dashboard alert?

To uncover the root cause of customer dissatisfaction, Sarahi listens to call tapes in an attempt to determine what factors might be causing the delays. After listening to the tapes, two things become clear:

  1. Her team was taking an increasing number of calls from hostile callers who ranted for long periods of time.
  2. There had been an increase in the number of callers who talked for extended periods of time about matters totally unrelated to their requests for assistance.


How can Sarahi effectively improve customers' satisfaction with call times?

Sarahi could attack this problem on multiple fronts simultaneously. Her response could include some or all of the following actions:

  • Research and analyze call data in order to allocate personnel more effectively.
  • Train call takers to tactfully redirect or end a call when a conversation is no longer related to the issue at hand.
  • Empower call takers to escalate, transfer, or end conversations with hostile callers who are intentionally interfering with the call center's operations.
  • Evaluate options to increase non-telephonic communications.
  • Ensure that repeat callers are not the result of previous calls that were poorly handled.

Scenario 2: Barriers to Final Resolutions

Following Sarahi's success in improving the metrics of her team, she's temporarily reassigned to help a different team with the same issue: rapidly plummeting customer satisfaction scores due to worsening response times. However, after listening to several sample calls, Sarahi realizes that she's dealing with another issue: Because the call center prioritizes incoming communications by channel, rather than by topic, call takers and live chat agents are entirely separate entities working under different managers.


How should Sarahi start her analysis of the calls and live chats?

Sarahi digs a little deeper into the data: She requests a customer report that identifies all of the callers who contact the call center by phone following a live chat session. After reviewing the transcripts, her suspicions were confirmed: Many live chat agents prematurely end chats before confirming that the solutions proposed have worked. When customers found the advice proposed in their chats less than helpful, they opted to call instead of reconnect by chat. The increase in wait times and resulting decrease in customer satisfaction scores were due to poor problem-solving during live chats, which was increasing the workload of other business units, including the call center.


What should Sarahi do or recommend to improve the customer experience at the call center?

Ultimately, Sarahi will have to address the quality of the proposed solutions. Unfortunately, that's not going to be an overnight fix. Sarahi will have to take a multi-step approach in this case. She might consider things like:

  • Tracking (in greater detail) the number of chats that result in a follow-up telephone call.
  • Requiring live chat agents to take additional steps to ensure a problem has been resolved.
  • Creating and/or enforcing new metrics with regard to return calls for resolved issues.
  • Increasing the coordination and transparency among all channels of customer service communication.

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