Many companies are making a push to inform their customers of self-serve options. Most customers now have access to basic information via a phone system or on the web. Granted, these self-serve options can be a win-win for customer and company. The customer gets immediate information without sitting in queue. The company saves a lot of money by not having to answer another phone call.
There is a fine line, however, between informing customers of these options and cramming it down their throats when they call. We have witnessed and experienced companies who, in their zeal to off-load calls and save a buck, now require their CSRs to tell every customer about the self-serve options on every call. What’s more, they use their QA efforts to drive these company-centered behaviors with little or no regard to the negative impact on customers.
The two most common symptoms of this approach:
- CSRs will use time during account look-up to tell the customer about the information on the web. Since the spiel is often forced and/or scripted, the customer is left feeling that they are being held hostage. "You will get an answer to your question only after sitting there and listening to me tell you about our website!"
- CSRs will force the spiel in at the very end of the call, even if the customer is clearly ready to close and it doesn’t fit into the flow. This often makes customers feel that they are being forced to stay on the call to listen to the presentation when they just want to hang up.
Underneath these annoying service experiences is a basic truth you often find in call centers. It’s easier to make a rule ("You need to tell customer’s they can access information on the web") and enforce it ("You must do this on every call, or else!") than to train CSRs to raise the topic conversationally when circumstance and conversation warrant it.
I once read that the "easy way" leads to destruction – and such is the case here. You may drive some of your customers to the web or the phone menu, but at what cost to customer satisfaction?