Yet again, you place on hold after managing to speak to a customer service or a technical support and that is after a long wait on their hotline for over an hour. All because of a simple request of are they able to waive off the extra $5 in my late credit card payment fees or my delivery is late, are they able to divert my parcel to another address or I am one day late in my warranty, are they able to repair my phone without labour charges?
A simple request but out of the normal scenarios where the customer service and technical support officer follows a strict script and recite accordingly. Throw any weird request in the equation and suddenly, they are not able to function anymore. They place you on hold politely but with a hint of panic and unsure in their voice. I am pretty sure that the moment they place you on hold, they stood up and start asking all around sitting in the adjacent and neighbouring cubicles what to do. Most likely, a team leader will wade right to where he stood and grant the approval of whatever my tiny request is.
You totally could hear the relief in his voice when he came back online, relate the approval and get an ‘I have no other questions.’ from his ending line of ‘Madam, is there anything else I can help you with?’. I bet my top dollar, as soon as his cursor move to hang up the call, he sighed a huge relief before taking the next call and reciting the same script over and over again. I can even vision the little guy share this incident in the pantry with his fellow peers when he gets to take a break.
My question is why does it have to be that hard?
The answers lie within the management. One thing for sure, I always believe you pay peanuts, you probably get monkeys. However, that is not to say that after hiring 9 monkeys, you may get a golden goose. It is actually a common sight to see a call centre full of young folks fresh out of school and that is why the next point I’m going to bring up is training.
Many companies think that sending their employees are a waste of time as well as money better spent elsewhere. So when you are talking to the technical support officer, it might be his first day on the job after an hour of theory training and system training. Unless he has prior job experience, you probably can detect a tremble or two during his greetings. Even if a company provides a one-week training for newbies, continuous training should be ongoing like a refresher course every quarter at the very least.
The above two actually somehow contribute to this one. With the monkeys you hired and poor training provided, how can any manager trust the officers and empower them to make decisions? The key to great customer service is empowering your staff. Whether it is to allow them a waiver limit or an ability to grant goodwill coupons, it is as simple as that to create good customer relations.
But this doesn’t stop there, don’t only empowering your front line staff, empowerment the whole company. When an individual held responsibilities and esteem for his role and participation in the company, he tends to work harder, take pride in his work and remains loyal to the company.
What empowerment do you have in your current role? Share some stories in the below comments.