Over a quarter of Brits believe that businesses treat their customers poorly according to a recent YouGov poll, which could spell bad news for a lot of businesses after a difficult two years – considering that just under a third of us say we would reconsider using a company or brand again after a bad experience.
Experience is king, and in a competitive, ever-changing business world maintaining positive customer experience is vital to earning, and retaining, customer loyalty.
But with so many of us believing that businesses are still falling short in this area it’s clear more work needs to be done. Which is why UK customer management experts CallCare, have compiled their ‘CX Insights: how businesses can earn and retain customer loyalty’.
The report looks into the current landscape of the customer experience sector and utilises data from CallCare’s recent survey of customer service advisors and call centre agents in a bid to gain a better understanding of four of the main areas that can have a huge influence on customer experience – demographics, industry, language and scams.
The respondents were made up of roughly 25% call centre agents and 75% customer service advisors, all aged between 18 and 55.
From Call Length To Customer Age
Interestingly, nearly half of those surveyed ranked customers aged 67+ as the most difficult to deal with, despite only three percent reporting they regularly speak to that age group. According to the data the average age that customer service agents deal with is between 25-40.
Despite being the average age for callers, most agents report that customers aged 25-40 are actually the second shortest calls in general, only slightly behind the 18-24 bracket. Over a quarter of agents believed that customers aged 67+ take the longest on the phone, potentially why so many ranked them as the most difficult age group to deal with.
And as for the three industries that agents believe take the longest to complete calls on, both as the customer and the service provider, are financial services, utilities and energy and lastly public services. Potentially due to the lengthy security checks required before being able to assist the caller.
The survey also provided an insight into how language choice has been impacted by changing social values over the last few years with only 9% of respondents saying they haven’t given any thought recently to gender specific language and pronouns. That’s compared to two thirds who say they use gender neutral language either regularly or exclusively.
Which is not surprising given that nearly two fifths of agents reported being corrected for using the wrong pronoun at some point.
Over three quarters of agents now believe it is either very important or important to remain gender neutral on calls these days. However tone of voice is apparently a larger concern to agents, with a massive 95% reporting they believe it to be very important or important when looking to appease the customer.
Is This Call Genuine?
A new problem that customer service agents seem to be facing in the wake of the pandemic is a rise in customers thinking they’re a scam caller, with just under two thirds saying that a customer has questioned them recently.
The pandemic reportedly saw a rapid increase in the number of scam calls as criminals saw an opportunity to exploit people with all the uncertainty happening. According to the customer service agents surveyed, one of the ways they currently help customers differentiate them from scammers include reassuring customers that they will not be required to share private data such as pins or passwords.
Additionally agents say they can immediately provide their name and the company name to give transparency and confirm personal information the company has on the customer.
Two thirds of agents also reported they have seen a rise in customers contacting them about scam calls in general, with the most popular way agents believe businesses can help protect their customers from scam calls by helping to educate them more on the matter.
Gemma Harding, Head of Client Services at CallCare said: “Customer service is constantly evolving as consumer attitudes and expectations change and all the uncertainty of the last 18 months has only amplified this process. Creating and retaining customer loyalty is more important than ever if businesses are to survive the next few years and part of that means understanding the current climate; from changes in language choices, the makeup of the average customer and the increasing role companies need to play in helping customers navigate new issues such as the rise in scam calls.
However regardless of what changes within the industry the purpose of customer service is to help the customer resolve whatever problem or issue they have. So while many service agents may rank older generations as the most difficult calls or the calls that take the longest, this is often because a lot of call centres place pressure on their staff to resolve calls as quickly as possible instead of focusing on outcomes. At CallCare however we believe in resolving the issue in the first instance, meaning it may take longer to handle a call – but that is deliberate and preferred to shorter but multiple calls. Too many organisations can focus on metrics like efficiency/call length not on whether we deliver what the caller wants.
And if a business truly wants to earn and maintain customer loyalty, especially after such a difficult time, they should focus on ensuring positive customer experiences over metrics such as call difficulty or length.