Is the performance of call centers in Uganda exceeding customer expectations?

Many companies and Government entities in Uganda have come to embrace the
call or contact center phenomenon. They have made huge investments, and
also expanded the work force in their organizations to ensure customers’
needs are met.

Regrettably, rather than achieving customer satisfaction, the contact
centers have performed way below expectation. The reason for this is not
far fetched; most companies invest
heavily and set up these contact or call centers but forget the most
important aspect- which is the PEOPLE. A lot companies, especially in
Africa, have failed to embrace that going above and beyond for customers
is not about the 41 inch monitoring screens, fancy IP phones but the
training that goes to their human resource and other aided tools. Aided
tools may include Service Level agreements(SLA),key performance
indicators(KPI)and ownership of customer problems.

I will expand on ownership of customer problems by giving an example; a
friend of mine had power issues with a power company. He called the call
center toll free line 11 times and each
time he was given a different reference number. A couple of times, the
call center agents claimed not to locate the previous reference number or
simply said it was invalid. After reporting the issue so many times, no
one followed up with the customer to see if the issue was really solved.
This recurring act of failing to own the situation stems from the call
center agents even to management of the establishment.

To have the issue resolved, a friend of his gave him a contact at the
Headquarters and this “good Samaritan” solved his issues in
15 minutes after 6 days of calling.

Why should any one call a relative or a friend to have an issue resolved
when you have a fully functioning call center? No customer deserves to
call any company 11 times before their problem can be sorted, if a company
means business and cares about their customers. One call made from the
customer should be enough and the rest should be coming from the company
giving updates on the problem resolution.

Companies need to outsource trainers who have massive customer service and
call center experience that can really relate to the agents and the
operation in general. Having a fancy call or contact center without agents
that go above and beyond to own customer problems for quick
resolution will always discredit the massive initial investment you make
to wow your customers.

A customer focused organization stands the better chance of a sustainable

Ayub Kato
Customer Service and Call center consultant
Smiling Faces International

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