When the best sprinters in the world meet in competition, the difference between getting a gold medal and being an "also-ran" can be the difference of tenths or even hundredths of a second. Think about the seemingly insignificant details that can make a hundredth of a second difference.
Great service providers are like world-class athletes. The difference between good customer service and World-class, gold medal winning service are often small details of a call done consistently and done well. The small details that can push a company into that "World-class" range are usually very simple things like using the customer’s name, consistently using "please" when requesting information, apologizing for unmet expectations or offering to help with other needs before closing the call. Executives and managers often bang their heads against a table when their teams fail to do well in these "simple" behaviors, uttering "Why can’t we do this?!?!"
Here are a few reasons:
- We don’t communicate "why" this detail is important. Often, the customer’s expectations are left out of the equation when communicating what we expect from the front-line – leaving the CSR thinking that this is just a silly management requirement. Even when data is available about what the customer expects, it is rarely well-communicated to the front-line.
- Internal QA teams are often reticent to focus on these "details", fearing that they will seem nit-picky and that it will create conflict with CSRs. They choose not to mark the CSR down and decide just to "coach them on it". This sends the message that it’s not really that important and CSRs have no motivation or incentive to change their behavior.
- In the day-to-day pressure cooker of a call center environment, it’s easy for people to get into a "good enough" mentality. "We’re answering the phone. We’re resolving issues. It’s good enough."
- Behavior change requires conscious effort, and many people aren’t willing to do it.
Great managers are like great coaches. They set a high standard of excellence, they continually coach to that standard, they accept nothing less than that standard – and they find ways to both inspire and motivate their teams.