There are a number of different ways contact centers can measure success and customer satisfaction is a key part of that. This is usually done with a CSAT score, which is a metric that is used to evaluate customer satisfaction.
A high CSAT score will help you hang onto your current customers. This is important because 80 percent of a business’s future revenue will come from 20 percent of its current customers. But happy customers will also be more included to send referrals your way. So by improving customer satisfaction you are also potentially bringing in new business.
Managing conflict is an inevitable part of a contact center agent’s job. So a big part of improving your CSAT score is the ability to manage complaints and conflicts that arise.
5 Ways to Manage Conflict Resolution
This study done by Russell Wade focused on one call center to examine the relationship between customer satisfaction and conflict resolution. They used the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument to assess each of the 97 contact center workers’ conflict resolution styles. The five different styles are outlined briefly below:
Competing: This refers to someone who is assertive and uncooperative. This person needs to be right and wants to feel like they “won” no matter what.
- Competing: This refers to someone who is assertive and uncooperative. This person needs to be right and wants to feel like they “won” no matter what.
- Collaborating: This is someone who is both assertive and cooperative. They think win-win and look for solutions that will satisfy both parties.
- Compromising: This is someone who is somewhat assertive and somewhat cooperative. They try to find the fastest possible solution to the problem.
- Avoiding: Avoidant personalities are unassertive and uncooperative. They simply try to ignore the issue altogether.
Accommodating: This person is unassertive and cooperative. They put the other person’s needs first at the expense of their own.
Wade compared conflict resolution styles to customer satisfaction ratings for each agent. He noticed that the agents who paired both the accommodating and collaborating traits had the highest customer satisfaction ratings overall. They put the needs of the customer first but they also looked for solutions that would work for both parties.
Empowering Your Agents
So how can contact centers help their agents develop better conflict resolution skills and as a result improve their CSAT scores? First of all, great customer service starts with hiring the right people for the job. And the number one quality you should look for in a contact center agent is empathy.
Empathetic agents will listen to your customers and are willing to go out on a limb to help them. These are character traits that are difficult to teach. These employees provide proactive solutions to problems rather than arguing or avoiding the situation.
But you also don’t want agents who are doormats or lack customer service experience. Instead, look for experienced employees with a proven track record of providing top notch customer support.
Of course, even the best employees will need training if you want them to exceed your customer’s expectations. Educate your agents about your company culture and your customer base.
Provide them with a variety of training materials on things like how to deal with a difficult customer. Monitor their training and provide constructive feedback along the way.
It takes new employees a long time to be fully productive in their jobs. Because of this, you should continue this training process for a minimum of six months. And don’t wait until there is a problem to provide additional support — be proactive about offering any extra training that person needs.
There are many benefits to helping your agents improve their conflict resolution skills and improve their CSAT score. You will create happier, more loyal customers, and employees who are more fulfilled and more likely to remain in their current position.