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The primary factor in call center customer satisfaction is first call resolution, whether a customer reaches a satisfactory resolution to a problem with the first call. Other issues that appear to play a role are the conflict management and communication styles of the call center staff, as well as offshoring. Companies may choose to focus their efforts on first call resolution with the goal of satisfying the greatest number of customers. Marketing surveys and other methods are available to help companies determine if their efforts are working.
When a customer contacts a call center for assistance and gets a prompt, appropriate response, this tends to increase satisfaction levels. The customer may need a simple service installation, refund, new part, or other service. Reaching a resolution fast can help the company retain the customer's loyalty. If necessary, this may involve allowing call center staff more autonomy to make decisions to satisfy customers, and making sure that supervisors are available for immediate call escalation in more complex situations.
Wait time can also play a role in call center customer satisfaction. Customers who spend an extended period of time on hold may become frustrated. Some companies attempt to resolve this issue by pushing more service needs to their websites. A phone company, for instance, might have an online setup program for new basic service, to reduce the number of people calling for a service that could be successfully automated, with no need to talk to a representative.
The way call center employees communicate can also be an issue. Call center customer satisfaction can drop if customers do not feel that the communication style of the representative matches their own. Conflict resolution skills are important for representatives, as is the ability to assess each call individually to decide on the most appropriate way to handle the customer. Tools to do this can be provided during training to increase chances of success.
Offshoring can also play a role in call center customer satisfaction. Many companies may choose to use business process outsourcing to meet call center needs, relying on a centralized service in a different country. Sometimes language barriers can be a problem, as can resentment about offshoring and job loss in some regions. In nations where robust offshoring debates dominate the media and many citizens have firm opinions on this topic, calling a domestic company and hearing a foreign accent can be jarring, and may result in a drop in call center customer satisfaction.