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How to avoid being one of UK’s dreaded contact centres.

Last week BT, TalkTalk and Scottish power shared the doubtful accolade of being Which magazine readers’ most dreaded contact centre, based on feedback from over 7,000 consumers ranking everything from staff knowledge and phone system menus to politeness and waiting times.

This isn’t the first time the contact centre industry has come under fire. Poor customer service from call centres continues to grab the headlines and cause reputational damage to the worst offenders. Naming and shaming the chief culprits should be enough to get them to raise their game and give customers a decent service. But it is really that simple?

Most consumers would probably be amazed to discover just how much effort contact centres put into developing processes to manage performance and exceed their expectations.

But many customer experience teams fall into the trap of thinking that business processes and technology alone are the best options for improving customer satisfaction scores, when actually they need to go beyond spreadsheets and a tick box approach by including a wider culture change.

Changing culture starts with putting people and relationships at the heart of your contact centre. That means focusing on what customers want and empowering agents to deliver an outstanding service.

This often requires behavioural change and closer collaboration between agents and team leaders. By working together everyone within the contact centre will have a mutual understanding of what is expected and how it is going to be achieved.

It is only by taking this approach that contact centres can improve agent morale, increase customer satisfaction and make improvements to quantitative metrics such as average handling time.

There is an old saying, “Repeating the same behaviour and expecting different outcomes is a sign of insanity”. Contact centres would do well to take this on board or be prepared to languish at the bottom of the pile in customer satisfaction surveys.

You can find out how Atos set about changing its contact centre culture.