Making call centres work

Picture this: You are buying airtime or sending money to your mobile money wallet using your bank’s digital platform.

The money is deducted in your account, but is not remitted to the wallet or the airtime voucher is not generated.

You dial the hotline to the bank’s call centre. You are put on hold, subjected to minutes of waiting. When you finally speak to the agent at the end of the line, instead of assisting you, they treat you with disrespect.

Worse still, they fail to assist you. Instead, the banks ask you to visit their nearest branch to be assisted or they order you to wait for 48 hours to allow their system process the reversal.

Reluctantly you buy into their propositions. In most cases it takes more than 48 hours for the issue to be rectified. Strangely, the banks feel safe because their guidelines only obligate them to reverse the transaction within five working days regardless of the hardship their customers endure due to unmet legitimate expectation.

Given the way you were treated in the first place, you decide not to follow up again.

This scenario deduces critical concerns of how customers are being treated by call centre agents in many financial businesses.

In today’s fast-paced world, many institutions are adopting call centres as vital piece of customer service.

The call centres are designed to handle high volumes of inquiries and provide swift assistance to customers. However, their impact on service delivery and customer care has been a topic of debate in recent times.

One of the major concerns is how they handle customer inquiries.

Over the years, most call centres owned by majority of local service providers have been accused of lack of customer care etiquette.

Many agents lack empathy and understanding of customers’ concerns and psychological state.

This has consequently resulted in customers experiencing delays in having their concerns being addressed professionally and on time, leading to frustration and dissatisfaction with the provided service.

Furthermore, the use of standardised approach in call centres hinders effective service delivery.

While standardisation provides an organised approach, it often restricts agents’ ability to personalise their interface with customers.

Such impersonal approach leaves customers feeling disappointed and unappreciated.  

To tackle the highlighted issues, service providers need to adopt several strategies.

Firstly, institutions need to invest in training programmes for their call centre agents.

The agents require regular training to improve their knowledge, empathy problem-solving skills and product knowledge.

Regular training would enable agents to handle customer inquiries professionally and provide personalised assistance.

Furthermore, institutions have to consider adopting sophisticated call routing systems.

Through such systems, institutions would be able to apply intelligent call routing algorithms that would enable customers to be directed to appropriate agent based on their specific needs.

Having such setup in place would ensure that customers get quick and tailored support, thereby enhancing their experience as well as boosting their confidence and trust in the service delivery.

Lastly, it is important that institutions regularly collect and process customer feedback on call centre conduct.

Doing so demonstrates that the institutions care for their customers. It further demonstrates that the institutions have identified areas for improvement and are undertaking required changes.

Such feedback loop can help institutions address customer concerns and guarantee that the call centre unswervingly meets their evolving needs.  The impact of call centres on service delivery and customer care is multidimensional, covering issues such as intricate customer inquiries, impersonal interactions, and inconsistent service quality. By investing in agent training, adopting progressive call routing systems, and regularly obtaining customer feedback, can enable institutions alleviate the challenges and improve the general customer experience. It is indispensable for institutions to recognize the importance balancing between effectiveness and tailored care in call centre operations.

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