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Converting Call Centres from AGGRAVATION Centres to ACTION Centres

Call Centres and Telemarketing

Amex experience with script less service. 93% of Consumers WERE not getting the service they expect, according to Amex.
For years Customer Value Foundation have been advocating that call centres should change from AGGRAVATION Centres to ACTION Centres, and showing companies how to do so.
How do you do this?
First, you must focus on the Customer needs, and not on the call centre needs or the company’s convenience.

  1. Ensure action is taken and answers are given
  2. Enable two way conversations (i.e. be able to call the customer with answers you did not have)
  3. Do not answer questions with questions
  4. Do not belittle the customer by saying, didn’t you know or you should have known or this our policy
  5. Answer the questions
  6. Do not keep saying it cannot be done, find a way to accommodate the customer even if it at a cost to the customer.
Let me focus on the first action step by examples. I was in a call centre when a customer called at 09:00 AM asking, “where is your service person". He was supposed to be here by 09:00 AM and I will get late for work.” The call centre person asked his name. That should have been enough to pull out his record and the service request. But the call centre person went on to ask account number, where he lived, when he paid the last bill, and how… all aggravating unnecessary questions, and unrelated to the customer’s question on where the service person was. Precious minutes were wasted and the customer got irritated… Why did they not answer his question right away, or they could have said, let me find out?
In another call centre, a customer called and said my air conditioner was installed but I did not get a remote controller. The agent goes to the supervisor and the supervisor calls the dealer, whose first response is, “Customers just complain”. The supervisor said the installation report stated no remote controller was given. So reluctantly the dealer says, ok, I will deliver it. By which time the customer has hung up and no one will call him from the call centre…that’s not our job.
Call centre metrics have to be changed. Call time, time to pickup are important, but more important are: Is the customer getting aggravated? Is his problem solved? If not what follow up action was taken.
I was helping a large company, and the CXO’s kept telling me how good the outsourced call centre was. There were many page reports every month about the performance, beautiful charts, etc., but nothing on my questions. I had visited the call centres, and realised all was not well. I asked d a couple of call centre supervisors to meet the CXO’s. The supervisors said they found that when they called one branch office for a problem resolution, no one would take their calls. Another centre said, who are you tell us what to do!
The CXO’s were nonplussed.
I advise CXO’s to take one call a day from the call centre. And if they cannot answer the questions with the built in menus, they can change the systems, and prevent call centre aggravation in the future.
Now American Express covered in a recent Fortune article under the care of Jim Bush, Customer Service Czar. Fortune reports:  Call-centre customer service has become a finely honed discipline, but usually it seems honed to cut time: The agent is superficially friendly, but nothing can derail that person's mission of getting you off the phone fast. Service at American Express wasn't much different from that before Jim Bush was put in charge of it in 2005. His basic insight was that breaking with industry orthodoxy by transforming those conversations into less structured, more human engagements would pay off. Instead of evaluating service reps mainly by how quickly they got you off the phone, he based the interaction on one question: Would you recommend this company to a friend? AmEx's score ha s risen significantly und er Bush's direction, and he was right -- it pays off. Customer spending is up, attrition is down. The service is SCRIPTLESS.
Golden Rule -- treat others as you would like to be treated.
Aggravation causes Value Destruction and should be avoided.
For complete article contact Customer Value Foundation, saying send Amex article
Your comments are welcome! Call at (+91) 9971288580

Contact: Gautam Mahajan, President - Customer Value Foundation
M: +91 9810060368

Tel: 11-26831226,
Fax: 11-26929055



Customer Value foundation (CVF) helps companies to Create Value and profit by Creating Value for the customers, employee and for each person working with the companies.

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