Companies are spending lots of time and money trying to increase customer engagement and sales. There are new roles, departments, endless meetings. There are new tools, new metrics, gamification, QA structures, bonuses, Multi-lingual service. The list goes on and on.
Yet with all of that, customers are generally dissatisfied with the service they receive when reaching out to companies via phone or chat. More than that, customer service representatives are generally just as excited to give exceptional service as the client is to reach out to the company (a bit of sarcasm).
So why is this the case? First thing that comes to my mind is Classical conditioning, think Pavlov’s dogs. If you’re not familiar with this term, look up Pavlov’s dogs on the internet. It’s a study done in the late 1800s by a Russian physiologist named Ivan Pavlov. (Pause here and read up on it if you don’t already know.) Customers today are conditioned to assume they will receive an uninterested, unknowledgeable, scripted customer service representative on the phone or web-chat and the customer service agent is assuming they will get more complaints, more issues and generally just wants to do good enough to hit his metrics, get good QA scores and make a living.
So what is a business to do? How do we break this cycle?
From a call center operations perspective it’s nice to think that the reason that people don’t do what you need them to do, or conform to your standards, or make good choices is simply that they don’t know enough. If the problem is a lack of knowledge than its easy to give more training, give them a couple of tests to make sure they got it and you’re good to go.
What about those dreaded employees who constantly show up a few minutes late to their station to log in? Oh, that’s easy you say. Just let them know that being late isn’t allowed. Give a DP. Threaten to fire them if this happens. It tends to fix the issue.
The thing is all these and more are symptoms of a bigger issue. Your reps most likely view their job as a temporary necessity. They want to do what is expected and get paid. They don’t necessarily care about the same things that the company cares about and the reason they don’t care isn’t that they don’t know what you know or can’t figure out how to show up to work five minutes earlier.
The challenge for a company is to understand their call center IS their touch-point with the customer. It is the key to customer experience and must be treated, not as a necessary evil that constantly gets budget cuts, but as a marketing opportunity that can be utilized to increase company revenue and customer satisfaction.
A great way to start making a change is to educate our people about our belief systems. What is it that we care about as a company? What DRIVES us, what’s our PURPOSE and WHY it matters. This coupled with great training, good pay, fun atmosphere and a SINCERE caring for our people, not only in words but by action, will help drive a change in the culture of the contact center. Invest in the contact center and watch a truly measurable difference occur. Not in your KPI’s, but in your company’s bottom line.
This article was written by Perry Silber, COO of GuateCall. GuateCall is a Near-shore contact center provider of multi-channel bilingual English / Spanish services located In Guatemala, Central America. If you would like to learn more about GuateCall, please reach out to me at 713-474-2222 or by e-mail email@example.com