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Challenges for customer services over holiday periods

Customer service calls often spike during pubic holidays, especially the period we’re in now, following Christmas where gift exchanges are commonplace. The types of customer queries raised include defective promo codes, missing receipts, questions about returns and lost instructions.

For customers, if the process of raising issues is not dealt with smoothly and promptly the risk arises of lost business and this is bad news for businesses since effective business models depend upon returning customers.

The analysts Arvato, who also act as a customer service outsource providers, recently conducted a survey among 1,261 of their representatives. The aim of this global poll was to gain insight into how company representatives can more effectively work with customers in order to have issues resolved faster and with better customer satisfaction.

The survey produced some findings of interest to customer services departments:

The most effective channel to solve a problem across remains the telephone, according to 5t3 percent of customer services representatives.

In contrast, and perhaps surprising in the digital age, is that the most ineffective way to solve a problem is by complaining on social media. Only 3 percent of customer service representatives said this approach is ever successful.

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The most frustrating behavior exhibited by customers is in acting as if they already know the answer to the problem before they contact customer services (This was highlighted by 30 percent of customer services representatives).

Another mechanism for having a complaint resolved is for the customer to ask to speak to a manager or a supervisor. Customer service representatives admitted that although they have some authority to resolve an issue, if a customer asks to speak to the next level of seniority then those higher up in the hierarchy can often deliver better deals or have greater authority to resolve a problem. The answer then, for the frustrated customer, is to escalate the problem. This was confirmed by 51 percent of those customer services representatives polled.

Commenting on these survey outcomes, Fara Haron, CEO of CRM Solutions, North America and Philippines, Arvato, said: “While the job of a customer service representative has always been challenging, advancements in technology are making their roles more complex, and their input and opinions more valuable than ever.”

For related news, see the Digital Journal article “Interview: Transforming customer engagement for big-name brands.”

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