It used to be that a company with lousy customer service had built-in damage control: the customer who received bad service might tell a few friends or family members and that would be the extent of bad publicity. Today, because of social media, a dissatisfied customer can post about their customer service experience on a site like Yelp, where it may be seen by many people for years to come.
With this in mind, it behooves any company to establish and maintain a high level of customer service, which may include recording customer calls.
A Legend for the Wrong Reason
The customer simply wanted to terminate his cable service, but the representative declined to do so without a satisfactory explanation. Numerous times the customer politely declined to be more specific and repeated his request.
If you could have listened to the call, you would have concluded that no explanation would have been satisfactory to the rep; who continued to badger the customer for the reason he wanted to leave the company with “the fastest internet service.”
The customer had the foresight to record the call, which he posted on Soundcloud. It later showed up on YouTube, where it went viral, resulting in news stories on National Public Radio and in Time magazine.
This is the kind of customer treatment that earned Comcast (the cable provider referred to above) the lowest customer satisfaction rating on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for several years running—even lower than the Internal Revenue Service—and resulted in the company being repeatedly cited as among the worst in the U.S.
It’s not just bad public relations that can hurt your company: while only 4% of your unhappy customers will complain, 91% of them won’t do business with you again. That should give you a clear idea of the effect that bad customer service could have on your bottom line.
For companies who provide customer service over the phone, the best way to control this is by recording the calls. Here are five good reasons why:
1. Guaranteed Level of Service Quality
The primary reason for recording customer services calls is to ensure your representatives are delivering a high level of service.
When you don’t record calls (or record but don’t actively review them for quality), you are enabling the possibility of poor customer service to continue undetected.
While it’s possible to monitor customer service by listening in on reps and correcting them when needed, recording the entire call gives you a complete record of the exchange which can be used for employee review and correction.
2. Elimination of “He Said, She Said”
Having a record of the call prevents the possibility of making a wrong decision. Let’s say that a dissatisfied customer hangs up on your representative, calls back, and asks for a supervisor and then proceeds to “vent” to the supervisor and demand the rep be terminated.
A supervisor in that position can’t act until they’ve reviewed the call. It’s possible that the customer is owed an apology, refund, etc. and the rep needs to be corrected, but it’s also possible that customer is a troublemaker for whom the rep politely attempted all possible solutions.
Only an audio recording of both sides of the call (which is possible with today’s modern PBX systems) can tell you exactly what “he said” and “she said.”
It’s not only valuable in terms of retaining a customer or correcting a representative, but may function as evidence in legal issues such as customer claims of verbally-made policies or guarantees; reduction of liability; and tax, insurance, or confidentiality matters.
3. Training and Development
One of the best ways to improve your representatives or validate the quality of their phone conduct is to listen to recordings of their service calls. Not only bad calls, but also the very best ones. Only a recording can tell you:
- The rep’s level of professionalism.
- The clarity of their speaking voice.
- Their understanding of and response to customers’ questions and complaints.
By pointing out exactly what your reps are doing right and what needs improvement, you can achieve and maintain a standard of good customer service.
Recorded calls can also be used to demonstrate instances of exemplary service to your entire service team and to identify who your star players are.
4. Payment Verification
Companies may keep digital or hard copy records of financial transactions, but particularly when it comes to taking credit cards over the phone, it’s good to have an audio record of the customer agreeing to a charge, in the event they later decide to dispute it.
5. Regulatory Compliance
Depending on your industry, you may be bound by certain regulatory requirements, as mandated by state or federal government.
Employees who know that they are being recorded are likely to adhere to these requirements in their telephone dealings with customers.
As the White House Office of Consumer Affairs noted in a recent report: “News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for good service.”
If you don’t currently record customer service calls, the cost to add it to a VoIP or PBX phone system is very small, especially in comparison to what neglect could cost you in terms of reputation.
Just ask Comcast.