What’s Wrong With Customer Service?


Share on LinkedIn

consumer reports mattress 1024x390 Whats Wrong With Customer Service?Bob Cowen at Snowfly alerted me to the upcoming July, 2011 issue of Consumer Reports Magazine. On page 16, there’s a list of the best and worst companies in 21 different business categories (hotel chains, on-line retailers, phone companies, tech support, etc.) compiled from 3 years of subscriber surveys.

If you work at one of the companies in the “best” column, congratulations! You’re doing things right. If you’re working at a company listed in the “worst” column, this is a wake-up call that presents an opportunity to make some changes. If your company isn’t listed, keep reading to be sure you qualify for the “best” side of the list next year!

Abide by the GetHuman Customer Service Standard

The GetHuman Customer Service Standard, provides specifications for making the phone systems used in customer service and support easier, more effective and more efficient for customers. Call your own company’s number. Is the IVR helpful? Can you find your way to a human being? Or do you end up in IVR-loop hell?

Hire the Right People

The skills people display when they’re interviewing are not necessarily the skills they need to have in order provide top-notch customer service and support. Yes, it costs to use standardized assessments during hiring, but the costs of hiring and training a rep who isn’t suited for the job are much, much higher! Check out the assessments for contact center reps and supervisors from by FurstPerson and ImpactAchievement and compare the cost against replacing a rep who isn’t performing up to par at your company.

Make Training an Ongoing Event

Most companies provide customer service training for new hires. However, the skill level they leave class with degrades significantly over time. One major computer manufacturer we worked with, for example, had average scores of 72% for first call resolution (FCR) and 81% for customer satisfaction (CSAT). Thirty days after we trained a pilot group of 30 representatives, the pilot group had moved their scores to 82.4% for FCR and 94% for CSAT. However, without on-the-job reinforcement and a continuous improvement program, within 60 days, the scores of the pilot group started falling back to the center’s norm.

Don’t Forget the Supervisors!

One of the things I love about contact centers is that they frequently promote from within. However, we’ve observed that unless they’ve had a strong mentor or training in proper call center coaching, most agents promoted to supervisor tend to supervise as they were parented —and that doesn’t work out very well. Supervisors need to learn how to create a climate for success, set team and individual goals, coach to measurable performance standards, and handle difficult employee situations.

In summary, if you hire the right people, provide continuous training to keep agent knowledge and skill level high, and train supervisors so they have the skills to inspire and motivate agents to provide stellar service, you, too, can make it to the top of the list next year.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peggy Carlaw
Peggy Carlaw is the founder of Impact Learning Systems. Impact helps companies develop and implement customer service strategies to improve the customer experience. Their consulting services and training programs help organizations create a customer-focused culture while producing measurable business results. Peggy is also the author of three books published by McGraw-Hill including Managing and Motivating Contact Center Employees.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here