Agents get a more sympathetic hearing but customer frustrations remain the same

Comment by Lucille Jackson, Marketing Manager of Genesys UK, on the Channel 4 'Phone Rage' programme

"OK, so who didn't see it? Contact centres under the spotlight again, and yes, the inevitable wave of comments as a result of the Channel 4 "Phone Rage" show has begun.

I noted a distinct change in approach in this programme, a switch in emphasis from 'the agent is to blame' and an understanding that some technology has started to help the agents and contact centres manage their operations. It must be one of the first times that a programme has taken into account the agent perspective of customer frustration. It's important for consumers to be reminded of what the guys on the business end of the phone have to go through. We in the industry have all been talking about the importance of agent motivation and developing solutions to help this - including workforce management and effective business process routing - and it was nice to see the programme showing this at work.  

What was important to note was that the cause of most extreme frustration seems to be system failures of one sort or another - not human ones. Some contact centres already have the ability to instantly see dropping service levels, and have the flexibility to adjust staffing to re-align service levels, as the programme illustrated. This is an important element of business process routing that allows higher levels of staffing to remain productive and an integral part of our own Dynamic Contact Centre strategy.

But we must take note that the customer frustrations are still the same, as heard on the programme in those well worn comments:

"I'm just going round and round in circles. I’m having the same conversation over and over again…"

"What I want is to phone up with a question, and just have an answer there. Job done. That's customer service!"

Customers in large numbers are still frustrated by having to be put on hold and repeat information. Our own research at the end of last year here at Genesys showed that 52 per cent of consumers are frustrated by having to repeat their details or complaints, and 67 per cent were frustrated by hold times.
We are now moving to help our customers to set up a more effective 'front door' service that will help to deal with a large number of customers quickly and easily - and handle the other customers who have more complex enquiries. An Intelligent Customer Front Door (iCFD) approach can simplify the process of dealing with customers from the moment they hit the contact centre and go a long way to reduce that customer frustration that is still around, as the Channel 4 programme highlighted."
If you would like to learn more about the iCFD approach, there is a series of webinars on these subjects being run by Genesys. The next one will be on 26th March, with two further sessions scheduled for 30th April and 18th June. For more information visit

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