- Add all customer requirements into the process.
- After addressing all customer requirements, simplify the process by removing unnecessary steps.
- Go back, and make sure that you didn't remove any customer requirements during step 2.
“I’m sorry sir, we don’t have any record of you in our system.”
“Hmmm, that doesn’t make much sense – I bought the car from you, and I’ve had it serviced here at least six times since then. Can you try looking it up by my last name?”
Don’t blame the system for delivering a bad customer experience.
Your objective as a customer service representative is to deliver a great experience. If the system makes it difficult to do that, the customer doesn’t need to know. If the customer is told that their records are managed by inferior technology, that lowers their confidence in the service provider.
When an customer is told that the system is preventing them from receiving the quality service they deserve, the indirect message is “Someone in a leadership position chose a system that doesn’t treat me well.” That doesn’t bode well for the customer’s perception of their company’s leadership.
A service experience is comprised of people (the customer service representatives), processes (those processes followed by the CSR’s) and technology (the systems used by the CSR’s). When a CSR discounts the quality of the system, they’re indirectly discounting the quality of the service.
No system is perfect. So it’s important for CSR’s to understand where the deficiencies lie, and establish work-arounds. In the example at the beginning of this article, that may mean the following:
Don’t say, “I’m sorry Mr. Jones, we have no record of you in our system.”
Instead, take it upon yourself to employ a “silent workaround.” Try searching for the record again using the common knowledge proper name for Bob Jones – “Robert Jones.”
Common sense? Absolutely. But common sense is violated every day.
The key point here is to never blame the system for delivering poor customer service. Doing so sends unintended negative messages to the customer, which compound a poor experience. Instead, know where the system deficiencies lie, and establish ways to work through them; ways that are invisible to the customer.
Your ultimate goal is to deliver a superior customer experience, whatever it takes!
An article in the January-February 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review says that “Across all industries, fully 81% of all customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative.”
If you’re running a Service Center, that should be music to your ears.
If you don’t already have a fully equipped customer Self Service Portal with access to a well-curated knowledge base, that statistic should be your motivation to make 2017 be the year you make it a priority.
And if you’ve already put a portal and knowledge base in place, but are not seeing results above 50%, perhaps it’s time to take a step back, reevaluate, recalibrate and put some more rigorous processes in place to drive higher results.
But let's go back to the key findings in the article.
2 Dynamics that Affect Service Quality delivered by Service Center Reps
The article goes on to point out two dynamics that result from this high use of self-service:
So, here’s the challenge: You’ve been successful in driving customers to self-service. Customers are using it, and solving all those easy problems on their own. So now, when they need to speak with a live rep, it’s because the problem is more complex. Consistently resolving more complex issues requires a team of Tier One service center reps with a different set of skills than before the days of dominant self-service.
What's the right type Service Center Rep to hire in in the Age of Self Service?
To determine the optimal service rep profile to address the challenge, CEB conducted its 2015 Frontline Workforce Fit and Engagement Survey. The survey results found that reps fall into one of seven profiles listed in the graphic at the end of this article. Then contact center managers were surveyed to determine which of the seven types they preferred to hire.
42% of managers interviewed preferred to hire and manage Empathizers, with their empathic and sympathetic demeanor with customers, and their service orientation.
Each of the seven rep types were also rated on their ability to make service interactions as effortless and painless as possible for the customer. Customer satisfaction, and productivity measures were also factored in to the ratings.
There's another type of Service Rep - the Controller - who tend to be more outspoken, don't follow scripts, but are very solution-oriented. As you'll see, these reps were not exactly preferred by managers, despite their high scores in productivity and customer satisfaction.
Are those Managers Getting it Wrong?
Here’s the big surprise: The “Controller” reps – those who are outspoken, and more solution-focused than empathy-sympathy-service focused – were the top performers in terms of bottom-line results. Yet service managers prefer this profile less than all the others. In fact, only 2% of all service managers said they would hire Controllers ahead of any other type of rep.
Here’s the point: While an increased use in self-service has changed the requirements for Tier one service representatives, most managers have not changed their hiring practices.
What type rep are you most likely to hire, and how well will they do in resolving today’s more complex customer requests?
QR codes have been around for a while, but many companies are still trying to figure out how to use them. Some use them well, and some, well, not so much.
The Cybex Arc Trainer at my gym has a QR code printed next to the console.
Scanning the code links you to a useful mobile app that describes workouts designed for that specific trainer, and tips on maximizing the benefits. In fact, I've used the app several times to plan my workout.
The company manufactures a lot of products, but they've taken the time to link each product's
code to information about that particular product - and that's what makes the QR codes so useful.
I noticed a QR code on a bag of kale the other day. After my positive "QR Experience" with the Arc Trainer, I was eager to see where Glory Foods' QR code would take me...
I scanned it using my smart phone, and was disappointed to land on the home page of the Glory Foods website. There were two problems with this:
ONE: Take me to content that I can read on my phone.
The Glory Foods website is not designed to be read from a computer, but not a smart phone. The problem with that is that people don't scan QR codes with their computers; we scan them with our smart phones.
So, if you take us to a sight that we can't easily read, what's the point?
TWO: Make the content relevant to the product on which the code is printed.
The QR code brought me to the home page of the site, even though there is a separate page for its Kale greens, complete with recipes and nutritional information. The QR code should at least link from the product to the product-specific page.
If you're going to print QR codes on your products, take the time to link the code to (1) a site or an app that's designed to be read from a mobile device, and (2) contains product-specific information that will enrich the experience of using your product.