Tired of spending time on hold? Blame poor call center documentation

call center holding

Next time you’re on hold, enduring the terrible music call centers use to punish the poor souls waiting for help, take some comfort from the fact that the call center is suffering, too.

Tired of spending time on hold? Blame poor call center documentation

Call centers are expensive to operate, and when they’re inefficiently run, they drive up costs for organizations and cause customer attrition. Call centers are information-intensive enterprises, so when you dial a customer service number, the quality—and duration—of your experience depends greatly on the quality of the call center’s documentation.

Many call center inefficiencies are due to poorly written, poorly organized documentation

Despite the reassuring voice telling you that your call is important, if the call center’s documentation is poorly written or poorly organized you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the next few musical gems on their play list. The CSR who should be taking your call is probably searching through a dense, confusing document for the answer to another caller’s question. Or the information was out-of-date and the CSR is struggling to locate a current version. Perhaps the CSR is new and inexperienced, and is calling a supervisor to ask how to search for the information the caller requested.

Call center documentation should be accessible, accurate and clear

Call center managers are increasingly aware that they can’t afford documentation that’s difficult to search, hard to understand, or out-of-date. They can’t afford the lengthy training cycles for new hires, either, or the escalating customer complaints that result from poor documentation. They’re seeking solutions that will help them create documents that support efficient call center operation and promote customer satisfaction. Their top priorities include:

  • Accessibility: CSRs must be able to quickly locate the information customers need. Access paths should be intuitive and easy to follow.
  • Accuracy: Information shared with customers must be correct and up-to-date. Rapidly evolving product lines may necessitate nearly constant review cycles.
  • Clarity: Information must be easily understood and at the right level of detail for customers. Confusing, ambiguous or inconsistent information is unacceptable.

Free Webinar

Attend the Information Mapping webinar, Is Poor Information Structure Slowing Down Your Call Center? on June 11th to learn how you can improve your call center documentation.

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Comments 1

Guest - Vinish Garg on Friday, 15 May 2015 02:30

This is the reason why a majority of helpdesk service provides including Zendesk, Groove, Desk, provide a knowledgebase system as well. For your list of priorities, I guess by 'Accessibility', you mean 'findability' so that CSRs can quickly find the specific topic and information that they need. So, this is primarily an Information Architecture issue, for the way documentation is planned and structured, to ensure that it is findable.

In addition, most of the call centers have briefings about the latest updates on products (features, upcoming features, some announcements) and so they are updated on the latest developments in the product. However, the KB (documentation) is often not updated with that pace, and hence the CSR ends up referring to a KB that is not always updated for latest changes. So, a customer when told by the CSR about an upcoming webinar, can be confused to see that the documentation is still talking about the past webinar, and hence loses trust in the documentation.

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This is the reason why a majority of helpdesk service provides including Zendesk, Groove, Desk, provide a knowledgebase system as well. For your list of priorities, I guess by 'Accessibility', you mean 'findability' so that CSRs can quickly find the specific topic and information that they need. So, this is primarily an Information Architecture issue, for the way documentation is planned and structured, to ensure that it is findable. In addition, most of the call centers have briefings about the latest updates on products (features, upcoming features, some announcements) and so they are updated on the latest developments in the product. However, the KB (documentation) is often not updated with that pace, and hence the CSR ends up referring to a KB that is not always updated for latest changes. So, a customer when told by the CSR about an upcoming webinar, can be confused to see that the documentation is still talking about the past webinar, and hence loses trust in the documentation.
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