Imagine you are now hired as a consultant to a company who engages in selling digital ad space, the only customer touch point besides their website (which is highly praised for it's ease of use and clean design) is their call center where customers can speak to a customer service operator 24/7. However, recently - and the reason you are hired is because there is mounting customer complaints about the overall service quality and experience by customers.

The brand message that the company, called XYZ Telecommunications touts is that "THE FUTURE IS FRIENDLY". Executives are concerned because they are fairly new and cannot risk having this continue on for much longer.

What would be the elements you would evaluate for this business?

Take 10 to 15 minutes and make a list of what you would evaluate.

My assumption is that your list will comprise a variation of the below elements, that typically revolve around the call center associate, wait times, consistency of service and some systematic problem with the call center.

Typical responses include:

  • Know customer name
  • Be cheery happy, and polite
  • Have the relevant information
  • Ask the customer how they are?
  • Quickness of answer call (no call waiting) *waiting times*
  • Answering machine system, human touch and engagement
  • Ease of use to call (where is customer contact number)
  • Hours of operation / availability
  • Consistency of information (experience should be consistent)

But the truth is that that is not where we start - first we must look more generally at our overall business. Some of the key questions we should be looking at are:

  1. First to understand what the brand is. The truth in delivering our brand experience, how true is this to the real experience. Is FUTURE IS FRIENDLY, really a true thing that we are believing to achieve/ follow and exercise?
  2. What kind of experience would this be - "the future is friendly", we need to choose and select the right people for this job: personality, education, etc. Are they representative of this brand?
  3. Training – what are the standards and procedures that required to create the aura of “the future is friendly”, what is the level of overall customer service that needs to be achieved. What technical experience or preferences need to be in place to compete over competitors?
  4. Organizational practices and imbued elements to give the support that customer service needs, really to give them “authority” that at least 50% of the time they can achieve all issues themselves, and that within 95% time they can get it within 2 degrees of separation for those customers, so they don’t need a 3rd contact person.
  5. Also ensure that the front staff gets the right IT support, right technology, right databases, information and tools. Recognize long term customers. Account weights and values.

The list can easily go on, but you get the idea. Before we even start questioning specific attributes and service wait times, electronic messaging services versus personal operators we need to evaluate what the company is actually doing, the approach must be top down, inside and out.