Research into the pre-agent telephone experience

By 29th March 2016Blog, On The Phone
Research into the pre-agent telephone experience

OnBrand Audio’s White Paper ‘The Pre-Agent Telephone Experience and Its Effect on Behaviour’ was the first academic study of customer satisfaction, frustration, and behaviour focusing only on the pre-agent section of the caller experience. The study was undertaken in conjunction with a team from The University of Roehampton around 18 months ago.

This research was the first of its kind on the pre-agent part of the experience and proved that what happens on this (often neglected) section of the phone call has a large impact on the subsequent success or failure of that call.

This white paper led onto developing the unique ‘Pre-Agent Experience Index’ which ranks the pre-agent telephone experience of over 250 brands. OnBrand Audio developed the experience index because in the white paper, 84% of consumers stated that they would potentially stop doing business with a company if the pre-agent experience frustrated them and 87% said they would stay loyal if the experience was positive.

The Index itself is a series of 40 questions divided into categories on Language, Structure, Voice, Quality, Brand and Experience. These are all factors which our experience tells us make up the most effective pre-agent caller experiences (effective for customers and the business). Each question is rated poor, average or good, giving a maximum of 5 points per question and 200 in total.

To give a specific example, the section on language has 4 questions and these are detailed below.

1) Do the words used match the language I use?

2) The language used is clear and I understand which option to press

3) The language is positive, not apologetic or negative

4) The language is concise and to the point, not wordy and long winded

The index has 220 companies rated and ranked both by total score but on each section. This enables us to develop a rigorous analysis of what is working well and what can be improved in each situation.

OnBrand Audio design new pre-agent experiences for major brands who have all of their other touch points aligned, but find that the telephone experience often gets left behind. This can result in the telephone menus becoming difficult for customers to use and inefficient for the organisation to run.

The good news is that all the elements of a positive caller experience also drive operational efficiency. The aim of the Pre-Agent Experience Index is to make this research useful to individual brands and help them improve in this crucial area.

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