New Study Uncovers Critical Flaws in Standard Call Center Strategies

A new survey conducted by Mattersight offers some surprising insights into the challenges facing many sales and service call centers, and issues a call to action for customer service executives and other professionals charged with improving their customer experience.

Mattersight, a provider of personality-based software applications, surveyed more than 1,000 consumers to determine consumer sentiment towards customer service and identify how businesses can improve their call center experience. The company found that today's consumer is hyper-connected and more informed than ever, and many attempt to solve their problems without the help of a call center representative. By the time a call is placed, the problem is urgent and the frustration has been mounting, creating an immediate atmosphere of tension and negativity.

In fact, of the more than 70 million people in the U.S. who dial into customer service call centers every year, nearly two-thirds are frustrated before they even start talking with a customer service representative, according to the survey data. And alarmingly, 75 percent of consumers surveyed reported still feeling frustrated at the end of a customer service call, even if their problem was successfully resolved. The constant consumer negativity presents a challenge to customer service executives.

"Call centers are stuck in a cycle of customer frustration," said Kelly Conway, president and CEO, Mattersight, in a statement. "Rather than diffusing the situation and providing each consumer with personalized service, most businesses still measure success on getting callers off the phone as quickly as possible---doing little to improve the customer experience."

Mattersight's survey results demonstrate that the key to creating a positive customer experience is connecting callers and agents who are most likely to enjoy a natural rapport, based on their paired personality traits.

This approach delivers on the desire expressed by 92 percent of surveyed consumers, who said that if given the option, would prefer to choose their customer service representative, based on the representative's personality, compassion, and knowledge. The survey also uncovered consistent trends in what consumers are looking for in a call center agent:

"Ninety-five percent of consumers surveyed said that good experiences are what keeps them coming back to call center experts when they're in need," Conway said. "The consumer needs and desires came through loud and clear in this survey: businesses need to better understand personality and communication preferences. Improving the call center experience benefits consumers, agents and the company bottom-line."