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When customers direct profanity towards contact center agents, it can have repercussions for the organization that last well beyond the call. According to research conducted by The Quality Assurance & Training Connection (QATC), the average annual turnover rate for agents in U.S. contact centers ranges between 30-45%, which is more than double the average for all occupations in the U.S.
Highly cited as reasons for leaving the job are abusive calls and low job satisfaction. Both elements that can be directly traced back to being subjected to calls containing profanity from customers. This is especially true when it comes to more junior level positions. According to a survey by talent and benefit company Mercer, entry-level and intermediate agents combine for nearly 50% of industry turnover.
The costs of turnover in the contact center are high. A study conducted by Cornell University states that replacing one agent equals approximately 16% of the gross annual earnings of a contact center worker. Or in other words, the cost to replace one worker is equal to two months of pay. If you factor in the loss of productivity during the hiring and training of a replacement agent, it is closer to three to four months’ pay.
Bottomline, contact center agents have a tough job and agent retention is already a tough assignment for companies. Eliminating the causes of abusive and profane laden calls should be a priority for organizations to help reduce agent churn.
The use of profanity in calls to the contact center is on the rise. It has moved beyond an issue of politeness to a business problem that is impacting operations and costing organizations money.
CallMiner recently analyzed more than 82 million calls to determine the prevalence and impact of profanity in the contact center. Our analysis showed that callers are becoming more frustrated with issue resolution and are verbalizing their displeasure at an increasing rate.
Our infographic, What the %!#* is Going On, brings to light the negative consequences of profanity during calls and the potential impact on the company’s bottom-line. While the use and variations of profane terms vary, there is no disputing the issue that profanity is bad for business.
Key findings in our analysis showed that calls that contain profanity last on average more than eight minutes longer than those without. Think about what these are doing to your metrics. It was also determined that for calls that contain profanity, 87% of them contain profanity throughout the entire call.
These statistics signify a few serious issues for the business. First, contact center agents are unable to de-escalate volatile interactions. Customers are coming in angry and staying that way. Second, your process is broken. By the time a caller gets to an agent they have lost control of their emotions.
Why Profanity Needs to be Accounted For
The use of profanity during calls says more about you than your customer. There will always be a small percentage of callers who are impolite and show little respect for your agents. However, the more important takeaway is that you are failing on some level.
Maybe it’s your inability to properly address and solve customer problems in a timely way. Perhaps your service or product is not performing as promised. No matter what, you can’t afford to ignore this key metric.
Measuring the use of profanity can help you head off several costly business problems early on. It can be your first indicator that there is a breakdown in process, product or service. Customer and agent churn can be reduced and contact center metrics can be normalized.
Direct customer interactions are extremely valuable. Don’t ignore the important data resulting from these conversations. Reducing the presence of profanity in the contact center should be an established and important KPI for every business.
Use this information early to avoid costly problems down the road. Ignore these key data points and you could be f*cked.
There are a lot of metrics companies use to help determine contact center success.
There is first call resolution), percentage of calls blocked, average call abandonment rate, average call length, total calls handled,cost per call (CPC) and many more. The list of critical metrics that contact center managers need to concern themselves with and those on which they are evaluated is nearly endless.
But if you aren’t paying attention to the use of profanity by customers in your contact center, you may be missing one of the most important metrics of all. When customers use profanity, the impact is far reaching. It negatively influences many of your other KPIs.
For instance, when the profanity starts to fly, say goodbye to metrics such as average call length as it just increased by more than 8.3 minutes. First call resolution? Hard to believe that’s happening when 87% of all customers who use profanity do so throughout the entire call. This says they are just as angry when they hang up as they were when they first called in.
How about CPC (What does CPC stand for – Cost per Customer?)? Profanity laced and abusive calls lead to increased agent churn driving up operating costs. No matter how you slice it, bad language runs afoul of critical metrics. We swear.
Imagine being so frustrated with a company you are doing business with that you launch into a profanity laced tirade against a complete stranger on the other end of the line. This scenario plays out in contact centers every day as customers are becoming more frustrated and angrier by the day.
But why? What is making customers boil over to the point where they are struggling to contain their emotions? According to our CallMiner Index, the biggest issue is that customers don’t feel that companies appreciate them or value their time.
Our research showed that issues such as long wait times or having to repeat all the same information over and over again across contact channels was a key source of frustration among customers. Failure to resolve a problem in one call also leads customers to believe that they are not a priority, or that the organization lacks the ability to handle even the most basic of issues.
Customers also want to feel as though they are being treated as individuals. Our research showed that when contact center agents rely on scripts, they tend to ask questions with no relevance to the current situation, further irritating the customer. Finally, when agents don’t know the right questions to ask or are incapable of answering customer questions, this indicates to the customer that they are not being taken seriously and their concerns are not a priority.