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Call center fails

Top 10 call center fails

Real people on Twitter share stories for the customer service Hall of Shame

Call Center Fails Tweet

Butt of the joke? Yes.

Pain in the butt? Double yes.

Just ask the real—and really honest—people who took to Twitter to lament their most recent call center experience.

In this piece, we’ll count the ten most cringe-worthy ways call centers ruin the customer experience, revealing what’s going wrong and how companies can and must fix these issues before alienating more customers.

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Trust us. The hater on Twitter is not coming back. Research by Harris Interactive found that 86% of consumers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience.

So why are call centers, which are theoretically created for the purpose of customer service, so often failing their customers? Read on.

#10 “Please continue to hold…”

Call centers aren’t built to handle spikes in customer demand, whether during the day or seasonally. With fixed employees who work fixed shifts, call centers are perpetually either under-staffed—leading to cranky customers waiting on hold—or over-staffed, resulting in wasted time and money.

Call Center Fails Tweet

Some call centers have tried to fix this by offering to call customers back. That might be good in theory, but in practice…

Call Center Fails Tweet

Maybe customers could just leave a message? We hear the sounds of hundreds of customers banging their heads on desks on frustration … then choosing a different brand.

Call Center Fails Tweet

#9 “I’ll transfer you now…”

When call center employees send customers to another agent, they’re often just passing the buck. This woman’s tweet is unfortunately not an isolated case…

Call Center Fails Tweet

Passing the buck doesn’t stop at transferring calls. Agents also tell callers they’ll assign issues for follow up—but when agents aren’t accountable, this strategy backfires.

Call Center Fails Tweet

Even brands known for good customer service can fumble phone service.

Call Center Fails Tweet

#8 “Hello? Are you still there?”

Call centers implement policies designed to extract maximum productivity from employees. But pushing agents to handle calls quickly can lead to unnecessary or incorrect transfers.

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Service level agreements (SLAs) require call centers to handle a certain percentage of calls in a specific timeframe, such as 80% of calls handled in 20 seconds or less. However, since call centers are inflexibly staffed, either customers are stuck on hold or the company wastes money on idle time.

Call Center Fails Tweet

The dirty truth is that hang-ups are sometimes a substitute for handling calls correctly the first time.

Call Center Fails Tweet
Call Center Fails Tweet

Even IVR (interactive voice response) systems aren’t immune from the hangup problem.

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#7 “I’m sorry to hear that. Let me see what I can do…”

How do you fix a customer’s problem? It’s not just about creating better policies—it’s about having better agents. You need agents with experience, maturity, empathy and poise who can talk a cranky customer through their issue and create a solution.
Unfortunately, call center employees are typically younger, less experienced and less educated than virtual flexible agents, according to research by Frost & Sullivan and the 2017 Liveops Agent Survey.

While flex agents are independent contractors who make call-taking their business, call center employees often see work as just a transitional job, and are far less invested in the results.

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It only takes one bad employee to alienate a long-term customer. Flex agents have calls routed based on performance, so the best agents get the most calls. But call centers can’t do this—even under-performing employees must continue to take calls.

Call Center Fails Tweet
Call Center Fails Tweet

Fill out this form to unlock six more insights from call center failures—including the No. 1 complaint on Twitter. You’ll also get a free report on 10 business strategies to leverage the gig economy for customer service.