Clarabridge Study Reveals Major Disconnects Between Contact Center Agents and Customers

Clarabridge revealed the results from its comprehensive, two-sided survey examining the perspectives of more than 1600 call center agents and consumers. First surveying U.S. consumers in November 2016, ages 18-59, Clarabridge sought to uncover the customer perspective on call center interactions and common frustrations.

Concurrently, Clarabridge surveyed contact center employees from a range of industries including cell phone providers, internet or cable providers, insurance, financial services, retailers and more, with the goal of understanding call center interactions from the agent perspective. Results from the surveys—analyzed in conjunction—revealed a number of critical insights on the customer service experience and opportunities for brands to improve critical KPIs including first contact resolution and call deflection.

Clarabridge found that brands need a heightened focus on contact center data and feedback about the overall customer experience. Executives have under-estimated its ability to drive significant cost savings, increase organization efficiency and forge valuable consumer relationships; failure to do so puts organizations at risk of losing customers to competitors and inhibiting long term success.

Specifically, Clarabridge discovered:

Underutilized feedback and repeated questions: Just over a quarter of agents (26%) report that feedback is collected on customer service calls, but that information is not distributed across other departments in the organization. Worse, 12% of call center agents report no feedback from customer service calls is collected at all. A majority of call center agents (65%) feel as though customers are generally asking the same questions repeatedly, illuminating a major inefficiency in call center operations and an opportunity for self-service improvements.

Both customers and agents are unsatisfied with calls: Only a quarter of agents (25%) report feeling ‘completely satisfied’ by their last customer service call and even worse, a mere 15% of consumers feel the same level of satisfaction. Agents reported the 3 major contributing factors for a negative customer call experience as: “The customer is angry and impatient” (48%), “I do not have the authority to resolve the customer’s issue on my own” (34%), “I don’t have enough historical information about the customer to best assist him/her” (31%).

Yelling or threatening to cancel your service gets you nowhere: While 67% of American consumers admit to raising their voice to a call center agent, 86% of agents have reported dealing with irate customers. It’s a common belief that threatening to cancel your service or subscription will yield better customer care, but results revealed this simply isn’t the case. Only about half of all agents are authorized to provide better or faster service to customers who raise their voice or threaten to cancel their service.

“At Clarabridge we believe businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to use contact center data for continual business improvement that ultimately leads to savings for the company and improved customer experience,” said Mark Bishof, CEO of Clarabridge. “This study illuminates common frustrations felt not only for customers, but also agents; highlighting a dramatic need for analytics that can improve contact center operations. It’s time to break down business silos and use the real voice of the customer data to make the business case for product, process, and service improvement.”

Clarabridge sources customer feedback from 22 channels, including contact center customer feedback, and provides relevant insights for brands to take action and improve the experience across all stages of the customer’s journey. Using the Clarabridge platform, contact centers can find millions in savings in just a few weeks, by analyzing call recording transcriptions, chat and agent notes together with other forms of the customer feedback including surveys and social media. The analytics uncovered, empower employees by providing actionable insight and highlighted opportunities for self-service, and contact center cost reduction.