Executive Interview : Interview With Catherine Ferguson From Telus
Ensuring you have a solid grasp on where the contact center industry stands is always important. We believe that knowledge is power and we at ContactCenterWorld.com enjoy bringing you the thoughts and opinions from our members world wide. We asked Catherine Ferguson with Telus to tell us her thoughts on where she thinks the industry has made improvements versus those areas which still need work.
In your opinion, do you believe the customer service you get today from other companies is better or worse than it was say 5 years ago?
Most companies give good service on the phone, once you get through the IVR. Most companies have long hold times in the IVR.
Do you believe there is a correlation between the service you receive as a consumer and your loyalty to the supplier?
Yes, good customer service definitely impacts my loyalty. Bad customer service always gets me searching for other options.
In your opinion, which industry sectors provide great service and which ones are poor?
Utilities, Government agencies and others with no competition, give impersonal, fact (what they believe is true) based responses. They are scripted and predetermined and generally inflexible. Financial institutions, while more consumer friendly, still leave you feeling like your opinions are irrelevant. More highly competitive services such as Telecommunications, awards programs, and marketing industries give great service because they have to, to survive.
Can you recall a really good experience recently - where you were WOW'd by the service you received?
I called to cancel insurance because I believed that their charges were excessive. The agent was polite, informative, offered me options, and stated that they valued my business. Although I declined their offer. The agent remained polite and friendly. She also left me with options for the future.
Talking about bad experiences, where do companies go wrong with the service they provide?
They do not allow the agents the time to effectively resolve issues, due to AHT restraints, prompting more return calls. I hate it when I call in and you can tell the agent, while polite, is really counting the seconds until you are off the phone. Talking over you and closing before other issues can be addressed.
Have you noticed any differences in service from people from different cultures?
No, everybody has a different style for delivery, even in scripted atmospheres. I do not like this question, it does not respect the individual.
If you had to give just 1 tip regarding the use of technology in relation to improving customer service, what would your tip be?
Ivr's are not generally user friendly, and are very convoluted, simplify it for the customer, agents have to code the calls anyway.
If you had to give just 1 tip regarding staff in relation to improving customer service, what would your tip be?
Give them the tools they need to perform their jobs. Sometimes even 2 monitors isn't enough when you have to multitask. Having one screen dedicated to policies and procedures would help shorten talk time because the information would be more readily available while they complete other tasks.
If you had to give just 1 tip regarding business processes in relation to improving customer service, what would your tip be?
EMPATHY: allow the agents the leeway to make a human connection with the customers, I know I appreciate a kind word when I'm having a problem with an account. We don't know what people are going through in their lives, kindness goes a long way.
In your opinion, how should contact centers measure the level of service they give?
Most companies now offer consumer satisfaction surveys. However coaching should be done to the surveys with low satisfaction. Some customers will never be satisfied, and each one should be looked at. AHT restraints are NOT customer friendly, everyone is an individual, people are not like a production line and should not be regarded as such.
Lastly, can you share with us one of the worst customer service experiences you have experienced recently?
I cannot say I have had bad customer service. I did have an issue with a department in the government, the agents while courteous, did not seem to have access to the information to resolve my issues. Let me say again, it was the agency and not the agents.
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About TELUS International:
TELUS International - a global contact center outsourcing, BPO and ITO company with delivery centers around the world, including in Canada, the United States, Central America, Europe and Asia. TELUS International is the global arm of TELUS, one of Canada’s largest telecom companies.
Published: Tuesday, December 9, 2014
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