Many contact center KPIs are useful in showing an overall trend, but don’t give you the reasons for the trend lines – why are people giving you low sentiment scores? Why are your Average Handling Times so high this month?

We conducted research to better understand the contact center experience directly from the agent’s point of view, as well as from a pool of over 1,400 consumers. From our insights, we identified the tools companies need to provide their agents with to support positive customer experiences.

For a contact center agent, these are the 3 most important factors for a positive customer call experience:

  • “I am quickly able to resolve the customer’s problem” (66%)
  • “I have enough information on the customer to best assist him/her” (46%)
  • “I have the authority to resolve the customer’s issue” (42%)

Conversely, for the customer, the most important drivers of an unsatisfactory customer call are:

  • Long wait time (46%),
  • Automated response/ Inability to speak to an actual human representative (37%),
  • Not having your problem resolved (37%)
  • Working with an unfriendly service representative (27%)

So, how can companies better support agents to provide a better customer call experience?

1. Provide better training specifically on handling complaints

15% of all customer service agents feel as though they did not receive satisfactory training when it comes to handling consumer’s requests, which undoubtedly leads to customer dissatisfaction. This is an easy fix. Companies need to invest in making sure that every agent feels able to adequately help their customers and understand the processes in place if they are personally unable to assist.

2. Provide access to customer history

Companies are not equipping agents with the proper context they need to help customers while on calls. Nearly a quarter (23%) of agents report not having enough background information on customers prior to the calls that they handle. Consumers can sense this disconnect and it is a leading factor in their dissatisfaction with the contact center experience. 45% of consumers believe that customer service representatives do not have enough background information on their situation to provide them with the help they’re seeking.

3. Offer strategic social media or self-service options

It’s no surprise that 46% of consumers report long wait times to be their biggest frustration with customer service calls. This is because call center agents are over extended. More than a quarter (26%) of all call center agents report fielding upwards of 100 customer calls per day. Long wait times are impacted by the fact that companies aren’t investing in finding quicker ways to deal with not only the volume of calls they receive, but automating fixes for popular complaints and investing in solving those problems over social media, which is often faster and cheaper. These investments have a huge ROI for companies that not only save them dollars, but keep their employees and customers happy.

4. Use technology to set yourself up for long-term success

Only a quarter of agents (25%) report feeling ‘completely satisfied’ by their last customer service call and even worse, a mere 15% of consumers feel the same level of satisfaction In light of this disconnect, it is obvious that call center agents aren’t always picking up on negativity, and companies need better tools—like voice and emotion analysis—to help monitor calls more closely in order to pinpoint customer sentiment and to better understand what causes the frustration and how to avoid it.

Without analyzing customer data and the drivers of KPI trends, companies are missing out on valuable insight to inform CX and corporate strategies, and ultimately, impact the bottom line. Contact centers need to be positioned as experience centers, and companies need to properly support agents to drive high customer satisfaction. If they don’t, companies will be facing higher call volumes, longer wait times, and unhappy customers.

The full research report, Why Can’t We Be Friends? Examining Both Sides of the Call Center Interaction, is available here for you to read.download the ebook