I really hate being yelled at, also on the phone. Luckily it happens very rarely, but if it does happen, I prefer just to hang up instantly. I guess the same goes for many others, including those people working in the contact centre.
But to a contact centre agent, these unpleasant calls from customers taking their frustration out on him or her, are an unavoidable part of the job.
Some agents will get more robust over time, finding their own ways of coping with the abuse. Some agents will of course feel offended and some might even start to yell back, which is clearly not appropriate. Others will lose faith and ultimately leave you and the job for another employer, whom they trust to do a better job supporting them.
"I really hate being yelled at. I guess the same goes for many others, including those people working in the contact centre."
In any case, since you can’t avoid these angry calls altogether (unless you completely stop picking up the phone, when customers call), you better be sure to assist your agents in the best possible way. Supporting them with relevant feedback and coaching after every one of these calls is naturally the best way, but also virtually impossible to stay aware constantly.
Later in this post I will illustrate how the Speech Analytics technology can help you being aware of the frustrated customers and to support your agents with timely and relevant feedback based on their own conversations.
Always keep in mind, that angry customers are simply crying for help
Let’s put the telescope to the other eye for a moment. These frustrated outbursts, aren’t they just a way for your customers to cry out for help?
My yearlong experience of working with the Voice of Customer tells me, that most of them are. They cry for help mainly because of bad customer experiences like a broken promise, a broken expectation or a broken business process.
"If you were only able to identify all these calls, you would access a goldmine of insights and learn how to improve the customer experience."
Experience also tells me, that these customers, raging as they may be, are the ones who most explicitly can tell you exactly, what is wrong with your service or business and how it should be fixed.
If you were only able to identify all these calls, you would be able to access a goldmine of insights and learn how to improve the customer experience and ultimately reduce or eliminate these angry calls.
Speech Analytics is a game changer – unlocking the black box
The good news is, that Speech Analytics turns the somewhat painful and trivial task of handling angry customers into a unique opportunity to benefit from the calls. Providing you with nearly endless insights in the thousands of hours of customer interactions, that to most companies today are only a black box of non-accessible data.
Speech Analytics isn’t black magic, but a very smart technology that automatically transcribes your customer calls. Not just some of them, but them all, no matter if you receive hundreds, thousands or even millions.
"Speech Analytics isn’t black magic, but a very smart technology that automatically transcribes your customer calls."
This is the reason why Speech Analytics is a real game changer. Instead of monitoring only a small percentage of your customer interactions, you will monitor 100 % of your calls, leaving nothing hidden below the radar. And even more important, Speech Analytics reveals patterns, peaks and volumes of all kinds of themes and issues critical to your business or organisation.
How does Speech Analytics identify angry customers?
So how does Speech Analytics identify these calls from frustrated customers? Not by registering if the customer raises his or her voice. (To my knowledge, no technology yet has demonstrated that ability to do this in a convincingly way).
What Speech Analytics does instead is logging the words used by the customer. It’s simple, and it works, when you simply figure out, how angry customers express themselves.
Angry customers captured by the ‘Captain Haddock-list’
To a Dane like me, Swedish folks always appears as very polite, at least when they call up a contact centre as customers. So, when a Swede start addressing the contact centre agent like Captain Haddock (I guess you are familiar with the swearing and whiskey drinking captain from the Tintin comics), you will know that this customer is seriously frustrated.
When I have been working with Speech Analytics in a Swedish context (which I have done on several occasions), my starting point is to use my own, private “Captain Haddock swearword list” to identify the angry customers.
"When a Swede start addressing the contact centre agent like Captain Haddock, you will know that this customer is seriously frustrated."
Naturally there is some variety in vocabulary of customers depending on age, socio-geography and more, so more finetuning must be done. But just to exemplify my point, calls, where Swedish customers uses swearwords like: “skit”, “jävla” and “förbannad”, are very likely to be angry calls. And by capturing these calls from the basis of all you receive daily, you will get access to angry calls from all around ‘the black box’, that you could never have found in any other way.
An example of a recorded, +40 minutes long conversation with an angry customer identified by swearwords. In addition to this and in contrast to many other vendors, Speech Analytics from Verint will also give you the full transcription of the call, combined with all sorts of useful information, like customer talk time percentage, talk-over time percentage etc.
Deep insight in the root cause of frustration – even without listening to the call
Not only will Speech Analytics help you to identify the angry calls, but also to understand the root causes of the frustration without having to listen to every single call. This will give you solid knowledge of the nature and size of different problems.
As an example, Speech Analytics may tell you, that the introduction of a new fee, drives 100 new calls a week from frustrated customers, and that this specific problem may drive up the call duration with 80 percent.
In fact, you will often realise, that frustration is not something caused by the current agent but related to a previous incident. A broken promise, a broken expectation or a broken business process or something else. Speech Analytics will let you know.
Summarising how you will benefit from your angry customers using Speech Analytics:
- Preparing contact centre agents for this stressful situation
- Improve the way, agents handle angry customers
- Identify angry customers, activate a service recovery action to prevent further bad story telling about you at the social medias etc.
- Actionable insights in exactly what causes the frustration
- Build robust, data based business cases of projects and initiatives to reduce or eliminate angry calls
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