Posts Tagged customer loyalty

Please hold for the next available friend

Last week my wife called for customer support on one of our gadgets.  After a brief wait she was connected to an agent and started the ritual.  Somehow during the rote recitation of name, rank and serial number the topic of location came up, and it was determined that the agent lived and worked in a tiny town right down the road from our ranch.  Neighbors!  Serendipity changed the whole tenor of the call from bored desperation to an entertaining bit of human interaction, and cemented our relationship with the vendor.

Working as a support agent can be a trial.  First, every person that calls has a  problem or they wouldn’t be on the phone; let’s face it, nobody ever calls a support agent just to say hi, have a great day.  And although each customer that calls has a problem that is important to her, she just one of dozens of depressed or upset customers the agent has to talk with during his shift.  Take that toxic environment and stir in a myriad of inflexible rules, regulations and metrics that overlay the exchange, and you have a recipe for disaster.

It’s tempting to want to use technology to measure every aspect of employee performance down to the micron, but don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees.  As my wife’s experience shows, it’s sometimes the things that are impossible to measure that provide the greatest value.  Every interaction with a customer, no matter how trivial, is an opportunity to increase customer loyalty and, as we all know, it’s much less expensive to keep a customer than to find one.

Make your agents feel like the important part of the team that they are.  Work hard to give them not only responsibility but accountability for increasing the value of their interactions.  Set out to raise the collaborative quotient of the contact functions and create measurements that reflect the flexibility necessary to make that leap.

When was the last time you had a good experience with a contact center and what made it special?

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But enough about me, what do *you* think of me?

I once had a girlfriend who would occasionally say, “Yes, as a matter of fact, it IS all about me!”   Needless to say, that relationship did not last very long.  Sadly, most corporate blogs have similarly short relationships with their readers.

Why do we blog?  For some it’s catharsis, for others a way to keep in touch with friends; however, in the professional world the best reason to blog is to have an actual conversation with your stakeholders.  The best corporate blogs are bi-directional portals to topics of mutual interest.

Hightalk has a quick perspective on the problems that many corporate blogs face.  By creating a blog for the wrong reasons, and loading it up with recycled self-promotion, many companies tend to alienate a prospective source of irreplaceable perspective.

So don’t be that person that never gets a second date.  Instead of using your blog as a broadcast channel about yourself, be interesting, engaging, curious and conversational.

What do you think?

Roger Farnsworth

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