Your Customer Service Level is a Direct Reflection on your Company

Customer calling for roadside assistance

A few days ago, I was shopping around for a roadside assistance plan. I nailed my search down to three companies. Here some key takeaways I collected from the experience.

The first company that had a few good reviews and an A rating with the better business bureau (BBB) was the first one I reached out to via phone, selected all the suitable options to talk to new membership sales. No agent was available on Tuesday to speak to, so I left a message and phone number with the operator, who mentioned that I would receive a call back within an hour.

No call back on Wednesday, so I sent the company a message via Facebook Messenger, no response back.

I called them back on Friday and got another operator. She said she would take a message and hand it over to a sales representative but later in the afternoon and still no call back — I thought to myself, what if I was stranded at the side of the highway with my family and needed a tow when will help come? So, I moved onto the next option.

I called the number for new membership, someone picked up, greeted me, saying, “Good afternoon and thank you for calling.” The call disconnected.

I checked my phone to see if I had enough coverage bars, and I did.

I called again, sounded like the same agent, greeted me with, “Good afternoon, and thank you for calling.” The call disconnected again.

That was weird, so-called again, sounded like the same agent picked up, “Good afternoon, and thank you for calling.” Disconnected again.

So on to the last option, and that went pretty well. Linda picked me up from AAA, and she was great, gave me enough information to make an informed decision, and took care of the purchase within less than 20 minutes.

The previous two companies lost my business due to my experiences, but how many other potential customers have they lost?

A few years ago, I was quality-assuring (QA) calls and noticed that one of the agents on my team had a call where she did the greeting, but the recording stopped before she could provide her name.

I quickly searched through the quality system using the agent’s name and calls under 30 seconds. It brought back 27 results. So, I listened to about 20 calls, the same pattern.

I asked the agent if she had any issues with her calls and mentioned that I listened to a few calls where the call disconnects after the initial part of the greeting but before her name. I helped the agent understand the importance of being available to assist our callers, so reducing such occurrences is crucial to our operations.

She stated that she was having issues with the phone system, her headset, and her computer.

I stated that I understand and asked what exactly was the issue, so I could either explain the process or find training material that could help. There was no response back.

I let the agent know that she wasn’t in trouble but would like to sit and listen to some of her calls. I told her that I wanted to see if there were any issues to identify and report up to leadership. I sat with the agent for a few hours and didn’t notice any problems.

I left the agent’s desk, letting her know that if she noticed any calls disconnecting all of a sudden, to let us know so that a ticket could be created for the issue to be resolved. I also let the agent know that I will continue to keep an eye on the issue.

I kept an eye on the agent’s calls for the month, didn’t notice the same pattern appear. The following month, no issues either.

Here are a few takeaways I collected from my experience that may assist with yours:

  • QA calls frequently to listen for trends. Some trends are suitable to implement and leads to an improvement in call quality. However, others need to be corrected soon before other agents start picking up these behaviors and executing on their calls.
  • Bring it to the agent’s attention but give them the benefit of the doubt, make sure your tone of voice doesn’t come off accusatory.
  • Take on a collaborator approach, where even if the agent was in the wrong but didn’t want to admit it, they still have a way to rectify the behavior but not feel embarrassed.
  • Follow up with the agent to verify that behavior or pattern doesn’t repeat itself.

I feel every situation is different, and we must give agents the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions. The most important part is identifying challenges, addressing them in a non-accusatory manner, and giving the agent the chance to correct the behavior.

About the Author

Mark Pereira is a Trainer and On-Site Supervisor at Briljent LLC. He is a Certified Professional Trainer (CPT), Certified Customer Service Professional (CCSP), Corporate Trainer Certified (CTC), and Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT). Mark is a learning leader who applies what he learns to continuously add value to his team while also implementing proven teaching methods to improve retention while taking calls, effective coaching, engaging agents for increased productivity, and leading with empathy. Mark has a bachelor’s degree in Commerce (BCcom), and currently resides in Indianapolis.

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