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If I am to believe the public broadcaster, it is one big chaos in customer service land. Figures from the Customer Service Federation show that queues have increased by 20-30% in one year and that waiting times are now almost 3 times longer.

Meanwhile, complaints are raining down on Consumers Union’s Complaints Compass. People complain that they have to wait too long, that drop-down menus are too extensive, and that chatbots don’t understand questions.

Tightness in the labor market

These problems would largely be due to tightness in the labor market, said Roel Masselink, director of the Customer Service Federation to the NOS.

According to him, the industry is not the most attractive sector to work in and there are some 10,000 vacancies as a result.

Better working conditions would be needed.

And really: I’m all for good working conditions.

But you can still pamper someone, if you then get the same angry customers every day, receive the same questions over and over again or spend hours on a backlog – then the highest amount of money in the world is still not enough.

Take a look at yourself first

It’s hard for people to look at themselves first when problems arise, but here you have to do it anyway.

Because if your business and customer processes are not in order, you will make the lives of your agents hell.

Then they are constantly wasting time answering the same questions (“Where do I find that?” “Where do I find this?”) and the customers who really matter – and who have the fun questions – are left on hold unnecessarily.

Welcome to the future

Dear people: it is 2022. We live in a digital age and just about everything can be automated.

Just a little while longer and we won’t even have to drive our own cars.

And no: I am not saying now that you should lay off all your staff. You just have to optimize things.

Get your agents working on complex issues, bundle all your contact channels into one interface, and make sure customers can help themselves.

According to Gartner, the number of consumers turning to self-service will go through the roof in the coming years.

Play on that. Take a critical look at your business processes and make sure you are ready for the (stormy) future ahead.

And of course if you can’t figure it out you can always call me to spar.

Daniel Cools is CCO of Steam-connect.