Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The 3 Legged Stool (call center 101)

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. 

What is the proper adjective to say when you suddenly felt the urge to do what has long gone forgotten? - long gone habit that even in your most solemn state of dreamless sleep makes you wanna say "Thank you for calling tech support, how may i help you?".

That chase-of-the-breath kind of feel has made way for this category on my blog - Call Center 101. I'd say that this Business Process Outsourcing Industry came a long way indeed, yet it has more to offer, slowly unraveling those untapped customer service related ingenuity amongst distant shores, most especially The Philippines.

I'm here to share what i've learnt during the 5-6 year journey into this realm of exciting, ever dynamic environment. Change - that is, is the only permanent catalyst to get challenged into the rat race over and over again.

This concept i'm going to impart was lifted when i was on training in handling a technical team of 15-16 persons, readying me to better my judgment in dealing with the degree of importance of who to serve with satisfaction the most.  (Makito, dude, if you're reading this, thanks for the inputs wayback).

There are three main protagonist at stake once a call comes in. They are likened to a three legged stool, that once a single leg is removed, the stool itself will collapse.

1. The Customer
2. The Company
3. You - tech support representative

(for the purpose of specifity, i chose tech support rep, although there could be variations such as customer service representative, helpdesk agent, outbound agent, etc)

These three entities are so intricately related to each other that you cannot singled out each. They must be satisfied at all times to achieve the best customer experience - i'm talking about customer satisfaction in perception of each of those three.
1. The Customer being served must be satisfied at all times. Despite having to break him the bad news (for example, his issue is not covered under warranty) without making him feel degraded or "unserved" properly. (it depends on how you convey it, thru your emphatetic skills and sincere approach of communication). Did i say, "customer is always right?". 

2. The Company (you are representing) must not suffer. Esp from any kind of bad feedback from the customer. The output of how "well",  you (the tech support rep) served the customer is so critical it defines you and the company itself. This leg aims to deliver customer satisfaction by all means. A mission and goal in which, is the common denominator in all the call center companies sprouted everywhere. 

3. The final one which is the Tech Support Rep plays a strong role on the three legged stool, from the opening spiel to the closing spiel, the call is being rated and Q.Ayed; which in turn will be the grade of the agent. However, it doesn't stop there, most of the time, a survey is sent to the customer - the so-called- Customer Satisfaction Survey.  It is imperative therefore to make a lasting excellent impression to the customer, to negate whatever bad experience he was previously in. 

Somehow, there's no way just to maintain or balance the three in all calls. At times, there are instances where equilibrium is unstable. Given the fact that C.E. (customer experience) is at stake, always remember to try saving the customer first. Give your best shot as a tech support rep to reverse a bad experience into a glorious satisfying one. It could hurt your metrics as you do some favor for the customer (ie) staying longer on a call just to make sure in the end that the issue is completely resolve but it will cost your AHT (average handle time); On the other hand, you may bend the rules of your company just to satisfy the customer. Remember that you will bend it, there's a significant difference between bending and breaking the rules. (hope you got my point here).

In recap, what you are aiming here is to attain or surpass the bar of customer satisfaction, never fail to forget that objective, just in case you want to sacrifice one leg of the stool. But of course, there is an instance where the customer is sacrificed as well. It boils down to your own judgement, that if you feel and heartfully believe that this certain customer won't get snapped in side the the circle of satisfaction (despite of you having given your best and despite of you having let your supervisor made a heatcheck and all) then it's time to let go of him and let the C.E. suffer.

Take a deep breath, focus and press "auto-in". The next call comes in, take control and aim for  a high C.E.


PS: (4th Thursday for the month of November is approaching so fast, well, I just hope the trend is still the same, low call volumes during Thanksgiving Day, have a great one! Û )


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