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Posted By:  ECT News Network on 11/12/2019 in CRM

WTF Is Going On With Customers in the Contact Center?

WTF Is Going On With Customers in the Contact Center?

By Jeff Gallino 

If you've ever thought to yourself, "people seem to be getting angrier these days," you're not alone. In fact, the latest research confirms it.  Consumers are becoming more frustrated, and their use of profanity in calls to the contact center proves it. 

In a review of more than 82 million calls, data shows that callers have had it with current issue resolution practices and are using profane language to verbalize their displeasure. This is more than an issue of politeness -- it's a signal that some part of your operation is failing.  

Why the Long Face?

According to the CallMiner Index, the underlying reason for angry customers is that they don't feel like companies appreciate them or value their time. The latest research shows several reasons that instigate a caller to grow enraged and profane:

  • Long wait times
  • Having to repeat themselves from one contact channel to the next
  • Failure to have their issue resolved on the first call
  • Long messages before being routed to the right person
  • Calls that are misrouted after speaking to a call center employee

The use of profanity during calls says more about the business than the customer: Some aspect of the CX is not efficient, and agents aren't prepared to handle customer inquiries to their satisfaction. 

A full 87 percent of calls with customers using profanity contain profanity throughout the duration of the call. This means that customers are already agitated by the time they reach an agent. Calls are often preceded by a failed attempt to resolve an issue through a self-service mechanism -- another indication that something in the process may be broken.

What's the Impact?

The use of profanity not only impacts CX, brand reputation and agent performance -- it hurts the bottom line. The research shows that calls with consumer profanity usage are on average 8.3 minutes longer than those without. The trickle-down effect of this is immense: Customers grow angrier at longer resolution times, costs per call skyrocket, and both customer and employee satisfaction drop. 

When agents aren't able to handle hostile situations and turn them around, they become subjected to long periods of emotional abuse -- and it begins to wear on people. Contact center agents often cite abusive calls and low job satisfaction as reasons for leaving the job. 

In fact, the average annual turnover rate for agents in U.S. contact centers already ranges between 30 percent and 45 percent -- more than double the average for all occupations in the U.S. 

But with an increased focus on CX, it's crucial to reinforce just how important a positive customer experience is for creating brand loyalty and generating growth. In fact, 86 percent of consumers say they're willing to pay more for a better customer experience. As CX is becoming a differentiator for companies in the most competitive industries, brands simply can't afford to let profanity get in the way.

Profanity Is a Metric Worth Tracking

Consumer use of profanity in the contact center is a key behavior worth tracking, as it is a measure of customer experience and client sentiment, and it negatively impacts the working environment for your agents.

When customers use profanity, the impact negatively influences many of an organization's top KPIs, such as first call resolution, percentage of calls blocked, average call abandonment rate, average call length, total calls handled, cost per call (CPC) and more. 

Through tracking profanity usage as a KPI, companies can adjust their strategy, better identify aspects of business that need to change, help agents improve, elevate the customer experience, and much more.

Sure, it's a cold world, and some people are going to be impolite no matter what you arm contact center agents with. But I like to view the glass half full, and I think most people want to play nice -- we just have to help them. 

That starts with giving quick, efficient, easy and informed service that customers can feel good about. Speech analytics is helping companies across the globe train their agents, track interaction analytics and measure progress, and we're excited to report in the future how it's helping America's f#&king anger problem. 

About the Author
Jeff Gallino is founder and CTO at CallMiner.

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