What is the impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty when a contact center experiences unplanned downtime? If you’ve been following along with our blog posts over the past few weeks, then you know that we’re exploring the impact of outages on the contact center. We began by measuring the financial costs and then ventured into the impact on employees. Today, we look at how downtime damages our reputation and credibility with customers.
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Last week, several major social media platforms went down for the better part of a day. If you’re a regular user of these services then you likely noticed that something wasn’t quite right. A mild inconvenience? Sure. But, for most people, life went on without any major impacts. Contrast that with system outages that shutter power grids, ground flights or prevent access to critical information and you quickly realize that downtime can legitimately put people in harm’s way. Whether your contact center is supporting a health system, financial services, higher education, retail, or any other vertical, it’s important to understand what happens to your customers when they can’t reach the contact center.
First, there is the short-term effect on the customer’s immediate need: they couldn’t purchase the product, receive the answer to their question, or file a complaint. Beyond that, however, outages can have a lasting impact on your customers and have the potential to reach those who weren’t directly affected.
Even after your outage is restored, will your customers believe, or trust, that it was an isolated experience? Will news of the downtime get amplified across social media and influence the future decisions of potential customers? At a time when businesses leverage the customer experience as a competitive advantage, it’s important to understand how the impact of an outage can last long after it’s over.
Have you ever traveled to a business and once you arrived discovered that they were closed? Or perhaps you arrived for a meeting only to discover that the conference room was empty? In either of those circumstances, doubt and uncertainty cross your mind. Was the business supposed to be closed? Did you miss a meeting cancellation notice? Did you do something wrong, or was it the other parties fault? You may feel confused, inconvenienced, stressed out, angry, or any of many other emotions. A customer experiences these same emotions when they try to contact your organization during an outage.
After they’ve had some time to process the experience, customers may question how often this type of thing happens. In other instances, customers will seek out an acceptible alternative from your competition. Most, if not all of them, will feel less confident in your organization’s reliability for service. In some instances, customers we quickly forget and move on from the experience while, for others, it could take years to gain (or regain) customer confidence.
Your outage may only last a matter of minutes or affect just a portion of your customer base, but don’t let the number of people affected or the amount of time involved trick you into thinking that the damage won’t be significant.
We live in a hyper-connected, socially amplified world where anything from a persistent cable provider to a fly-away guitar—just a single customer with a problem—can escalate to a global audience. No organization is immune from that type of attention and the potential fallout puts anyone at risk—from the frontline employee to the senior executive. Is it really worth the risks or will you work to ensure that you can assure your customers on your contact center’s reliable accessibility?
Don’t roll the dice on whether or not something like a contact center system outage will leave you and your customers helpless. Talkdesk’s enterprise cloud contact center delivers guaranteed reliability and offers an unprecedented 100% uptime SLA. Our voice quality is backed by an industry-leading 4.22 MOS and to ensure the security of your data, Talkdesk maintains security and compliance certifications from all leading global alliances and organizations.