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Future of call-centres - funny video - how to improve customer experience

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Future of call-centres and call centre nightmares - how to lose customers and sales. OK so here it is - I was going to keep this "funny" animation video away from my main website but seeing it has had great reviews and over 30,000 YouTube views I decided to let you all see it. Sadly such call centre horrors are carried out every day by most multinationals.

How to make your customers really angry

Every poll I do at conferences I speak at shows the same thing:  most business leaders hate getting through to automated call centres.  They find it annoying to have to press buttons when they want personal customer service.  Yet the very same people work in companies which force their own customers to use exactly the same systems.  So we are deliberately doing things which we know make our own customers really annoyed.

Of course the reasons are financial - but when you look beneath the surface, the costs of a more personal approach can be less than you think, and technology can in any case help us recognise a significant number of callers using caller ID, while predictive techniques can also help us to anticipate correctly a lot of the time why they are likely to be calling so we can switch them to the right team before we even answer the call.

Yes, life is complex in large organisations, every second costs money in call centres, but I know we can do a lot better than is the case in average companies right now.

In the meantime, organisations like Saga in the UK have already committed to answering every call personally.

Most call-centre agents are blind to customer needs

But even when you get connected, chances are that the call-centre operator is blind to your own situation.  She (most team members are women in most companies) probably only has access to a single screen, with scripts, prompts and (hopefully) some customer data.  In most big corporations like banks she may only have a partial view of the customer relationship.

To make matters worse, she is likely to be unable to see what the customer is looking at.  In a multichannel world, the customer could have 15 different web pages open on an ipad, be asking for advice on Facebook, is watching TV commercials on a big screen, and doing email - and may even be on another phone call at some point during the call-centre conversation.  If the operator can see the web at all, it is likely to be just a version of the company website (which may not be totally the same as seen by customers), with no ability to see competitor offerings, special deals and so on.

Call-centres should integrate with web / social media

In most cases, the call-centre agent is blind to the bigger picture about the person they are talking to.  For example, I have 42,000 followers on Twitter, and 6 million video views on YouTube etc.  My blogs have been read by 15 million different people.  So I have a large "influence" score on various sites.  That score should appear onscreen as soon as I call in - so that the bank or insurer can see that their good or bad service on this call may result in a significant amount of social media activity...

The web can tell a call-centre agent a good guess about the value of my home, an estimate of my annual income, what company directorships I have and so on.... all of which may be helpful in enabling the agent to handle my enquiry more appropriately.  All of these elements can be connected into a call-centre conversation in a second or two, using cloud-computing based software services like SalesForce.

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