In today’s on-demand culture, companies that wish to maintain a competitive edge need to pay careful attention to the needs and wants of their customers. Contact centers are an important mechanism by which companies can not only take the pulse of their consumer base via survey sampling but can also make themselves available to address problems, take care of complaints, and build an ongoing customer loyalty to brand and product.
The Automated Voice System
Contact centers, however, are difficult to staff with high-quality individuals on a consistent basis. The pace is relentless, the expectations considerable, and the turnover high. The automated voice system was developed in order to allow customers the ability to solve some problems without the help of an agent; in turn, this would allow companies to hire less agents and increase overall productivity. Instead of the labor force being tied up with simple requests, the agents could spend their time on more complex requests.
The Importance of Interpersonal Contact
The drawback of this platform, however, is the frustration often felt by customers who want to talk to a human being about their difficulties. Recently developed voice systems now recognize verbal directions and are able to deliver specific information based on the actual request. The most successful contact centers, however, are those that allow customers to contact agents rapidly, and in person.
Negative Response Rate Metric
A much-talked-about metric in the contact center sector these days is NRR, or negative response rate. NRR has been utilized to great success by Amazon, and rather than measuring average call times, as is frequently done, NRR is a performance-based assessment. The end goal of NRR is to obtain a “Yes” from the customer in answer to the question: “Has your problem been resolved?” Calls of this kind, frequently longer in duration and more complicated in nature, seek to leave the customer completely satisfied with the service they receive. This solution is not only more labor-intensive but also requires additional skill levels of the call center agents. Contact center staff need to have strong interpersonal skills, be patient and courteous, overcome objections and strive, above all, to ensure the positive resolution of a customer complaint. The additional cost-per-call associated with this metric can be absorbed by the upselling benefits to the company of a well-trained agent. According to the CFI Group’s Contact Center Satisfaction Index, 41% of consumers expect an agent to recommend products and services, and 43% of them are receptive to such a pitch.
In a time when business is increasingly customer-driven, customer satisfaction drives repeat purchase, instills brand loyalty, and promotes positive referral. And, in the contact center industry, NRR metrics appear to be a significant component of this success.