Times are tough for many right now. The cost-of-living increase, public expenditure and services cut, and the threat of recession means those worst affected won’t be able to cope as well. With this in mind, contact centres are usually the first point of contact for those struggling. Mainly because these customers may need to rearrange payments, cancel direct debits and services, or simply express their worries. In a time when customers have so many brands accessible to them, not providing proper agent guidance so customer issues can be resolved, may result in customers feeling the best option is to just cancel services and switch providers.
Therefore, it’s important for agents and managers to stay alert and identify any tell-tale signs of vulnerability, and provide the correct treatment and support, both at a compliance and personal level.
Firstly, it’s important to distinguish what customer vulnerability is. It is usually described as ‘someone who, due to their personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to detriment, particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care’ (FCA 2022). Vulnerable customers can be affected by factors such as:
- Financial income status
- Minority status
- Physical and/or mental health issues/disability
In terms of agents identifying the signs of a vulnerable customer, some may be more obvious than others but can include:
- Inability to stay focussed
- Key phrases or words that express emotional distress
- Difficulty understanding the conversation
- Language barriers
- Reference to family members being the decision maker for them
Agents can be trained to identify vulnerability, and most will be naturally empathetic towards a customer in need. Having trained agents means helping overcome any worries the customer may have and providing solutions without losing business. However, it might not always be easy for agents to pick up on signs straight away which can lead to mistakes, and further frustrated customers. Frustrated customers can create complaints against agents, which in turn affects the efficiency of the contact centre e.g., longer call times and low agent morale.
To avoid the mix of unhappy customers and agents, every conversation must be monitored so that the customer service provided is appropriate and compliant. However, contact centres using manual QA processes result in only 1-2% of customer interactions being reviewed. The remaining 98% of conversations go unnoticed and valuable insight is lost.
By adapting Auto-QA into contact centre processes, it will completely monitor 100% of every call, email, live chat, and ticket. It will understand the scale of vulnerable customers and help QA leaders quickly identify critical conversations that need attention faster and recognise if there is a need for better processes. Monitoring all conversations provides insight into vulnerable customers’ frustrations and how effectively agents are managing these interactions. Uncovering such conversations that may have previously been hidden helps team leaders offer actionable, trackable, and personalised feedback to improve agent performance going forward. Providing support for agents means less agent turnover as they feel more knowledgeable, comfortable, and confident in the solutions they offer which ultimately benefits the customer and business:
- It provides a well-rounded customer experience every time
- Helps retain customers
- Increases CSAT and FCR
- Creates positive brand identity and values that express the customer comes first
Auto-QA ensures internally that all appropriate safeguards are adhered to and that any shortcomings are identified and can be addressed. It provides an important role in demonstrating compliance and protecting the business as no conversation is missed and also allows contact centres to continuously improve and create a business plan that is always proactive and supportive of its agents and customers.
EvaluAgent’s Auto-QA allows contact centres to reach new levels of operational excellence. Want to see more? View our self-guided Auto QA product tour or book a demo today.