Are helpful agents harmful to your call center?

Posted on: February 13th, 2014 by Art Barger

To stay successful, businesses need to provide exceptional customer service. There’s really no way of going around it. Delivering exceptional customers service requires more than a clever marketing campaign. When it comes to daily customer service, call centers truly need to walk the talk.

Done right, it can be a huge competitive differentiator that separates your brand from others. In other words, your call center can play an important role in strengthening your brand integrity. On the flip side, a poor customer experience can be enough to send your customers running to your competitors in no time at all.

So what kind of role do your call center agents play in your company’s overall success? A big large one, to say the least.

A critical part of this process comes down to your company’s authentication policies and procedures, and the tools you use to identify your customers over the telephone channel. For example, contact center representatives are hired, trained and monitored to provide the best customer service possible. And like most employees, they operate under the rule that the customer is always right. So, when a customer calls a data center to retrieve their password or change their account information, call center agents typically do whatever they can to resolve their issue in a timely manner.

While this practice is ideal for helping customers along and keeping them happy, what can complicate the issue is the authentication process, itself. If your call center is operating under a knowledge-based authentication (KBA) system, call center agents are required to first interrogate customers by asking them a bunch of security questions. This interrupts the customer resolution process, which can have a lasting impact on your customers and your business.

As a result, making customers answer challenge questions at the start of the call harms the trust and goodwill of your customers. This can shake consumer confidence about your brand. And for businesses? It can drive up operating costs by absorbing valuable time and resources.

In short, relying on KBA solutions to validate customers is a lose, lose, lose proposition for the following reasons:

  • It’s bad for consumers: It disrupts the banking experience by forcing customers to answers several personal questions. This can impact the profitable bank-customer relationship.  
  • It’s bad for telephone reps: Interrogating every customer calling into your contact center not only monopolizes your call center agents’ time on the phone, it delays resolving customer issues in a timely fashion. 
  • It drives up operating costs: Companies that still rely on KBA spend a boatload of  money trying to identify every single customer over the phone. With the growing number of inbound calls, this time-consuming, non-predictive and expensive process is multiplied by the millions of calls that today’s contact centers receive annually.

Improving your overall customer experience requires the right authentication solution that reduces the need for post-call challenge questions. The TRUSTID® Physical Caller Authentication can help. By verifying the Caller ID and ANI before the phone is answered, your call center agents can immediately begin addressing customer issues with asking security questions to improve efficiency and create a more secure customer channel.