Do Your Call Center Employees Like Working There?

Are your customer service representatives happy in their work? Are they proud of what they do? In my experience, it is rare to get a positive answer to these questions. Believe it or not, a YES answer leads to higher customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. What do companies have in common that have motivated and satisfied customer service representatives? They have appropriate metrics

Examine two call centers in the same company. In the first call center, customer service representatives were managed primarily by first call satisfaction. If the customer called about an issue, they were to have that issue resolved in one call, hopefully by the first person who answered the call. This aspect of the call was measured internally as well as via customer satisfaction surveys. In the surveys, customers were asked if they had ever called about the problem before and how many times. The results of this survey question were the key metrics of success for the call center. The management did everything possible to encourage the service representatives to solve every issue on the first try.

We conducted Voice of the Employee studies. We asked customer service representatives what was getting in the way of resolving issues. What tools did they need? What policies or strategies were getting in the way? The employees were encouraged to develop their own individual tools and crib sheets to enable first call satisfaction. The employees began meeting in teams to discuss how to improve the statistics (remember Quality Circles from the 1980s?). These employees developed specialties, on their own, so others knew whom to speak with to resolve a particular difficulty. The employees felt empowered. The customer service representatives felt as though they owned the figures depicting first call satisfaction. The customer service representatives knew the management would support them in whatever they attempted as long as the goal was to meet the customer needs on the first attempt. The call center employees were motivated and happy in their jobs.

How did they handle call volume? Did the focus on customer satisfaction on the first try slow them down? The answer is that the focus was first call satisfaction, but the secondary focus was to satisfy the customer as quickly as can be reasonably accomplished. Do not make the customer feel hurried. Relax and meet their need, but develop tools and procedures to make sure the primary goal of first call satisfaction is accomplished, then satisfy the customer as quickly as possible.

Contrast this call center with another in the same company. In this second call center, the primary metric was call volume. Customer service representatives were graded daily on how many calls they handled. This metric created some abhorrent behavior. In one instance, I witnessed a customer service representative pulling his phone chord in and out of the wall rapidly, connecting and immediately disconnecting with dozens of customers in a few minutes. When surveyed, the customers felt hurried. The customers often were hurried off the phone without having their issues completely resolved. What did the customers do? They usually rejoined the queue of waiting customers, but now they were irritated, sometimes angry! The average length of call was the dominant metric for everyone in this call center, the individual customer service representatives, the supervisors and the call center manager. The proverbial whip was being cracked constantly. No one in the call center liked their job.

Titan Call Center Tijuana
Lorenzo Barcelata #26, 1, 22435 Tijuana, B.C.

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