QA Robots or Service Reps?

Tom Ehrenfeld‘s excellent post over at Marketing Profs was the source of a great chuckle this morning. Tom was waxing sarcastic about the rote question, "Did you find everything you needed today?" at the retail checkout aisle. I laughed because I’ve had some of the same sarcastic thoughts at my local grocery store, but I don’t articulate my own frustration as well as Tom has done for us.

Tom raises a great question for all of us in the Quality Assurance (QA) business. When does driving consistency and satisfaction just become silly, meaningless, robotic gestures?

I’m not one for scripts even though scripts have their usefulness. Scripts are like training-wheels for newbies to get a sense for handling a call, but at some point a Customer Service Representative (CSR) has to grow up and leave the script behind. Each CSR must learn to incoroporate the elements that are expected, but do so in a manner that fits them and their personality.

The call element where I see this most clearly is offering to help with other issues or needs before closing the call (e.g. "Anything else I can do for you today?"). This is a worthwhile element. One-call resolution is generally a key driver of customer satisfaction and while you’ve got the customer on the phone you should make sure you’ve taken care of all his or her issues. Our data suggest that this question prompts a legitimate follow up question or issue on upwards of 25-30 percent of calls (depending on the client and market). Asking the question improves resolution and reduces costly return calls.

BUT…there are many ways to ask the question:

  • "Is that going to do it today?"
  • "Was there anything else you needed?"
  • "What else?"
  • "Will that be all?"
  • "What else can I do?"
  • "Anything else for ya?"
  • "What other questions can I answer?"
  • "What else do you need from me?"

A good QA process will help CSRs find a phrasing that is comfortable, conversational and best fits their personality.

Any other questions I can help you with? đŸ™‚

Related Posts:
Jazz and the Art of Quality Assessment
Who are You Satisfying with Your QA Scale?

  4 comments for “QA Robots or Service Reps?

  1. August 10, 2006 at 9:29 pm

    Tom when you ask, ” When does driving consistency and satisfaction just become silly, meaningless, robotic gestures?” you really touch a common chord. It’s a bit like the “How are you that” rushes up to us when we enter a store in the mall. I keep wondering if folks ask that to people outside their work — simply because they’d like to know how a person is doing? Thanks for the insights Tom.

  2. August 11, 2006 at 3:45 am

    It’s true what Ellen said – some people literally become robots. They’ll ask you how you’re doing at work because they have to and they’ll ask the question without meaning. However, run into them outside the job and they’ll snub you…
    Reminds me of people I used to work with at Nordstrom. They’re soooo “nice” to customers, but when it comes saying “Hi” in the hallways to co-workers – they won’t say a word to you.

  3. August 12, 2006 at 8:10 am

    The interesting thing you both bring up the point of what people are like outside of the job. I’ve been thinking about that. Last week I talked about the fact that service is a job – and employers have the right to ask their employees to deliver a certain level of service (whether it’s their “personality” or not). The greatest example is Disney “cast members” being “on stage” when they are at work. On one hand it’s sad that people feel like they have to put on an “act” to be courteous and friendly – but I guess that there will always be those individuals for whom being nice is nothing more than an act.

  4. August 22, 2006 at 9:59 pm

    Customer Service Robots

    Tom Vander Well had a post that spurred some thought from both me and Ellen in regards to the robots that work in customer service nowadays. You know those people – the ones who memorize their scripts and will say…

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