Sowing the Seeds of Quality

I stumbled on Nicole McClain’s post yesterday of the "Top Five Reasons Customer Service Hardly Means Customer Service". It’s obvious from her well-articulated post that Nicole is a battle-hardened veteran from the Customer Service trenches.

One of her five reasons really stuck with me:

Companies throw employees into the water with a few instruction
manuals, an outline of company policies, and a wish of good luck.
Companies follow the mentality if the job is relatively simple, the
training should be relatively simple. If the job is relatively
complicated, the person in position is being paid enough to figure it
out along the way. Furthermore, college educated new hires should know
the company before they inquire within. Here it is folks: training is
training and experience should be considered superfluous. I might be
college educated, but I wouldn’t have the slightest idea on the best
way to run a McDonald’s kitchen or even the register for that matter.
I’m sure I could figure it out, but why sacrifice customer satisfaction
in the process? No matter how knowledgeable the person, take the time
to train your employees properly. You’ll spend more time developing new
business and less time apologizing for bad business
.

Can I get a witness? Call Centers are notorious for slighting training on both the Hard Skills (What you’re doing and saying) and Soft Skills (How you’re doing it and saying it). It’s very common for our group to find managers disappointed in their quality scores, but then readily admit that they provide little or no phone and service skills training for new hires.

Taking the time and resources to properly train CSRs before they get on the phone seems like unnecessary waste to many companies who just want to get the phones answered. However, (and to Nicole’s point) the money you are losing in dissatisfaction, lost loyalty, misinformation, unresolved calls and repeated contacts is likely costing you far more in the long run.

We reap what we sow. Are we planting the seeds of quality – or accepting the weeds of mediocrity?

  2 comments for “Sowing the Seeds of Quality

  1. April 20, 2007 at 5:12 am

    You got a witness here, brother…
    I’ve seen my company train people very quickly and put them on the floor to figure the rest out on their own. Those kind of trainees don’t seem to make it two weeks and just not last. Then I have seen when they spend extra time training and the trainees stay put and do a better job.
    Time spent training is never wasted. Your employees have more confidence, present themselves better to the customer, are less stressed-out and retention is easier than the sink or swim.
    On a personal note, I was talking to a customer from your hometown a couple of weeks ago, and I said,”I’ve got a friend in Pella named Tom Vanderwell.” My customer then said, “Half the town’s name starts with Vander, I’m afraid I don’t know him…”. To illustrate that, my customer’s name started with Vander also. That’s a Dutch name, isn’t it?
    Good post Tom,
    AC

  2. April 20, 2007 at 5:52 am

    Ha! You’re right, AC. The “V”s are the largest section of the Pella phone book. Our little Dutch burg is getting ready for our annual Tulip Fest. For any interested and/or wanting to waste a few minutes:
    http://www.pellatuliptime.com

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