Service Isn’t Just a Numbers Game

I was talking to a manager of one of our large, local employers a while back. This company has a decent sized call center handling customer and dealer calls from around the country. I explained to this manager about how our group helps clients measure and improve the quality of service that they deliver in their call centers.

"Oh yeah," the manager said, "I get it. We just spent a ton of money with Tiddly-Wink Telecom to install a quality program in our call center." (translation: we don’t need you)

"Really?", I responded, "That’s great! What is your new program doing for you?"

"Oh, we get tons of reports. We know how many calls we’re taking, how many abandoned calls we have, the average call time, average number of holds…stuff like that." (translation: I have  a ton of meaningless numbers)

Many companies make the mistake of thinking that stats off the phone switch translate into a picture of service quality. That is usually a far cry from the truth.

What the numbers say…      What the numbers mean…
Call Time is Down                 CSRs are rushing customers off the phone
                                           Customers’ issues are unresolved
After Call Work is Down        CSRs are finishing up calls on their next call
                                          
CSRs are distracted instead of listening
"Holds" are down                  CSRs are leaving callers in "dead air"
                                           Customer confidence is declining
We’re handling more calls     Customers have to call twice for resolution

Phone stats off of your switch provide you with an incomplete picture of what is really happening in your call center. For a complete picture, you need a Quality Assessment (QA) process that provides you with valid data on what your customers are actually experiencing when they are interacting with your call center personnel.

  2 comments for “Service Isn’t Just a Numbers Game

  1. February 21, 2007 at 6:15 am

    Good post,Tom.
    In my center, for a long time people were judged on the numbers exclusively. Thankfully, this has changed for the better. But previously the top performers put out high numbers of transactions, but we would end up losing money and customers because they did the rest of the work in such a half-hearted way. We had more QC complaints because of people putting high numbers before actually doing what the customer wanted.
    If you gave customers the choice of a five to ten minute hold time, but told them in exchange they would get accurate, professional service, I think they would choose waiting on hold but having their needs met fully.
    AC

  2. February 21, 2007 at 6:38 am

    Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen, and amen.
    Thank you, AC.

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