Call Centers Crucial for Customer Loyalty

A recent study claims that an overwhelming majority of consumers formulate their perceptions of a company--and their decision to repurchase from the business--based on their experiences with the company's customer service contact center. The survey, sponsored by Kelly Services, a provider of staffing services, in partnership with Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality, provides evidence that 92 percent of U.S. consumers form their image of a company based on their experience using their call center. Just as marketing and advertising have an impact on a company's brand image, call centers also play an important role, and should be considered a critical element of a company's strategy, the study suggests. "The call center research shows that in today's highly competitive marketplace, matters handled properly through a call center can help ensure customer loyalty," says Teresa Setting, vice president of Kelly Services. "Having customer service representatives trained to ensure a positive customer service experience is crucial to maintaining a strong brand image and keeping customers coming back for more." The research shows that 63 percent of consumers will stop using a company's products or services based on a negative call center experience. Among those calling to express dissatisfaction with a product or service, 86 percent were more likely to stop using the company if their experience with the customer representative was negative. Conversely, only 16 percent of U.S. consumers report that a call center had exceeded their expectations. Of those consumers, 95 percent will use the company again. This demonstrates that when customers receive outstanding service they become more loyal, and are therefore more likely to repurchase from the company. According to Setting, employers should look for certain skills when trying to successfully staff their call centers. "Training focused on soft skills that include handling conflict, listening techniques, establishing rapport, matching a customer's voice/pitch/pace, etc. is critical to the overall success of a call center agent and a company's call center. Negative behaviors by a call center agent are not tolerated by customers and can damage a company's reputation," Setting says. The study also claims that 100 percent of consumers between the ages of 18 and 25 will move to a company's competitor once they have a negative call center experience.
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