More than half of customer service agents say they botch how they record customer requests during service calls, with nearly 40% admitting they regularly fail to understand their clients’ needs because they get distracted, according to new research by Pegasystems Inc.
The global study, conducted by research firm Savanta, surveyed customer service agents from six countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific to uncover the difficulties they have helping customers and the resulting negative effects on customer outcomes.
The research found that outdated technologies were causing customer-facing staff a number of headaches, leading to frustration for both agents and the customers they serve.
Customer service agents’ frustrations
Accuracy of information
51% have full confidence with customer information when manually entering it into systems.
Nearly two thirds (64%) sometimes become distracted while taking down customer information and are unable to be ‘present’ and fully understand their customer’s needs as a result.
37% say it happens ‘all the time’ or ‘often’, making manual data entry errors more likely.
Existing systems harming speed of response
40% see slow resolution of issues as the leading frustration for their customers.
When asked what is responsible for slowing them down, over half (54%) of respondents blame the need to switch between applications to enter customer information.
51% are slowed down by searching systems to find the information for the customer.
Half of all respondents say it takes them between 10 and 30 minutes just to resolve simple, everyday customer queries, which leads, in turn, to customer frustration.
A lack of relevant training
More than half (51%) of respondents do not feel they’ve been given the training they need to operate as the ‘voice’ of their organisation and a true brand ambassador.
Almost half (43%) said they had not received sufficient training to search relevant knowledge spaces on behalf of customers to be able to find the answer to their question.
36% lack training and is responsible for the second largest cited customer frustration as contact centre staff being unable to provide the best, most empathetic responses.
The overwhelming majority of respondents say that embracing new technologies to help counter these issues would significantly improve their working lives.
83% would benefit from all apps they use being available on one screen, while 76% say their work would be easier by not having to copy and paste information between screens.
69% feel that eliminating the need to manually fill out forms makes a positive difference in improving their working life, while 87% said the same of being able to immediately access knowledge centres for them to answer customer queries quickly and directly.
Pegasystems executive commentary
Sabrina Atienza, the Product Management Director at Pegasystems said, “It’s an important time for businesses to arm their customer service operatives to operate as brand ambassadors.”
“Over the last two years, customer expectations have skyrocketed to the point where exceptional service is now demanded as standard across every interaction.”
“The scenario can no longer be seen to be going ‘above and beyond’ in order to provide quick, context-aware and empathetic responses as it is expected.”
“Companies must prepare themselves by investing in the right solutions to deliver the outcomes their customers not only demand, but also deserve or risk being left behind.”