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Bad Email Handling Costs Microsoft

Microsoft says it will refund all unauthorized charges to an Xbox Live customer whose account was caught up in a phishing scam. The company could’ve limited its payout if its customer support division hadn’t lost track of the customer’s email reporting the issue. What can your call center do to protect itself?

If you’re currently operating (or building out) a multichannel contact center, these articles and training will be useful:

Four steps to a customer-driven multi-channel strategy.

Best practices that enable these centers to consistently achieve ambitious response time/service level objectives, high levels of online customer satisfaction and retention, and continually generate and protect revenue via their web sites.

This ICMI Training course offers strategies and techniques that equip call center professionals at all levels to understand and build outstanding customer experiences through multiple points of contact.

An overseas phishing (identity theft) scam is costing Xbox Live customers in the form of unauthorized charges. In at least one case, Microsoft has agreed to pay hundreds of dollars in unauthorized charges made by the scammer(s) to a customer’s account because the company’s contact center lost track of the customer’s email reporting the security breach on her account.

Unfortunately, because of the customer support email handling failure, the scam is costing the online gaming service owner Microsoft, too. The company is stepping up after the fact to improve customer service: "…we are aware that a handful of customers have experienced problems getting their accounts restored once they've reported an issue. We are working directly with those customers to restore their accounts as soon as possible and are reviewing our processes to ensure a positive customer support experience."

The multichannel contact center certainly faces challenges in delivering consistent and timely customer service. No longer is there simply one chute that customer contacts are delivered through, and it’s important that all channels are working and handled properly. In Microsoft’s case, a customer email got lost in the shuffle, damaging the customer experience and, ultimately, the company’s wallet.

Many call centers are fining success in using email management tools to help respond to email inquiries efficiently and with quality. These specialized email management systems automatically and evenly distribute customer email inquiries among the center’s agents.

Call centers typically use the system's auto-reply feature to confirm that the message has been received and to let the customer know the expected turnaround time for a full response (the best e-support providers respond to each email in less than 24 hours). Auto-reply can also the number of messages and/or phone calls to the call center from customers who want to be sure their email made it through to the company. Additionally, many email management tools automatically open a customer support ticket.

Organizations that offer a variety of contact channel choices – and that are able to effectively manage each of those channels – stand to make huge gains in terms of customer satisfaction/loyalty as well as revenue generation and protection. The multichannel call center has to provide customer-focused applications and platforms, as well as providing agents with the training and tools they need to provide consistent service across all contact media.