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Contact Center Analysts Aren’t Immune from Baffling Service Experiences

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YOU EVER find yourself checking to see if Mercury is in retrograde after a series of wacky contact center interactions?

Just me, then? I guess I could have seen that coming.

I know that bad contact center dealings frustrate everyone, but it is a special kind of frustrating when you know exactly where the company went wrong. I may or may not subject my husband to detailed diagnostic assessments of these experiences. Very exciting for him!

(Side note: If you’ve ever wondered what kind of person devotes 40 hours a week to giving contact center advice, here’s what kind: weird. And if anyone reading this is a contact center analyst and is considering taking offense—please. You’re weird. We’re all weird.)

Anyways.

I’m sitting here in seat 20D of my YYZ-BNA flight en route to Forrester’s CX conference, with no Wi-Fi to distract me. Naturally, my mind starts to wander, and I find myself reflecting on the two contact center nightmares I’ve endured recently. Did they share anything in common?

They were really quite different experiences, but both had the same baffling disconnection from the customer’s lived reality.

SCENARIO ONE: PRODUCTS HAVE HOUSES NOW?

For about a month, my banking app asked me to log in with a new client card that I never received. This daily friction eventually wore me down enough that I decided to call customer service. But not before I checked the app for the 15th time to check that my address was correct in the app. It was.

The rep informed me that my client card was indeed mailed—to an apartment I left six years ago. But how could that be? I changed all that information when I moved (and after I got a mortgage with that very bank).

Well, no. You see, every product has its own address.

I was speechless. To add insult to injury, the bank’s policy required waiting 30 days after updating an address to send me a new card—unless I went to a branch. Huh?!

Now, this isn’t just about the inconvenience of a misrouted bank card. It represents a failure to align operational processes with the realities of customer experiences. They are prioritizing visual simplicity in the mobile experience at the expense of user transparency—if all the products have different addresses, show me that!

SCENARIO TWO: CASE MANAGEMENT CHAOS

I’m going to preface this story with a bit of a disclaimer: My husband and I settle in slowly. It took us a little longer than I’m willing to admit to paint the house and put art up on the walls. Recently, I identified the perfect light fixtures for our living room and placed an order. I’m still not really sure what happened, but I accidentally ordered the wrong color and immediately emailed them to make this change.

The only channel this company supports is email, with a four-ish day service-level agreement on response. I’ll spare you all the nitty-gritties, but I just checked and this whole ordeal took 48 days and approximately 20 emails to sort out.

Yikes. Why? Because after every email response, the rep would immediately close the case. I kept getting email surveys asking how satisfied I was with the service I received from [Rep Name] today? What service?! I’ll say it loudly for anyone who needs to hear it: “Response” and “resolution” are not synonyms!

I tend to handle these situations better than most, thanks to my understanding of contact center technologies and how agents are measured. But you shouldn’t need to be a contact center expert to have a good experience with one.

It’s time for a reset. Companies should work to align operational processes with the lived realities of their customers. A good starting point? Let’s start with rethinking resolution. It’s only a real fix when the customer walks away feeling their problem is actually solved. 

Christina McAllister is senior analyst, Forrester Research, covering customer service and contact center technology, strategy, and operations.

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