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How to increase satisfaction of call centers in 3 easy steps

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I got many positive reactions about my latest post on call centers’ phone menus. It seems many of you are frustrated by these anti-satisfaction systems. What they achieve to create among customers is everything but satisfaction.

I wondered about we could make them better. What would be the rules to follow if someone wanted those systems to be more customer-oriented, more satisfactory for clients ? How would we increase the satisfaction of call centers as a whole ?

Option 1: no menu at all

I guess the first, and probably best, option would be to just forget about those evil menus. Some companies already went this way. Take this example of Lampiris, a successful green energy provider in Belgium. When you call you just have to choose between French and Dutch and you’ll be immediately connected to an operator. This requires however that agents be trained on multiple aspects of the company’s offer and be able to answer and solve a broader range of issues. This option is the best because it avoids customers being redirected multiple times to different agents, and avoids them repeating their story over and over again.

At the end of the day, the equation is simple to understand: one contact point = less hassle for the customer

Option 2: design menus that respect customers

This is the one rule that should be enforced everywhere within an organization. Whatever you design it should always respect customers.

First of all design systems that respect your customers’ time.  No one likes to loose time; and yet many such automated systems have no added value for the customers. Moreover menu options are often not self-explaining. Eventually this all leads to misunderstandings, wrong choices and the only option left is to start again and go through the same annoying questions. If at least the customer had a “go back” option.

Option 3: if you really need menus, follow at least this simple rule

Don’t only respect your customers’ time; respect also their intelligence. Everyone knows that the human brain can’t recall too many pieces of information at once. In fact it’s been proved that as soon as there are 5 of more pieces of information to recall, chances of making the wrong choice do increase. If there is an absolute need to implement automated answering systems, make at least sure that your menus have a maximum of 3 options. You’ll minimize the chance of wrong choices and, as a consequence, will diminish the risk of upsetting customers.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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