“Must Learn BALANCE, Daniel-san”

I had an interesting post come across my RSS feed this afternoon from Syed Masood Ibrahim, in which he presented the following statement:

Nothing frustrates me more than the waste associated with counseling, monitoring and inspecting the agent for improved performance.  No organization can inspect in good service.

95% of the performance of any organization is attributable to the system and only 5% the individual.  This challenges the modern attempts by many contact centers to focus attention on the agent.  The problem is that the design of the work is so poor that an agent has little chance of being successful.  Blaming the individual for a bad system is nonsense.

I agree with Mr. Ibrahim that some contact centers place an inordinate amount of blame on the CSR for failures in the service delivery system. His supposition is correct. If the system is broken, it doesn’t matter how nice your CSRs are to the customer, the customer is going to walk away dissatisfied.

With all due respect to my colleague, however, I must disagree that CSR performance is only 5% of the equation. I believe the opposite of Mr. Ibrahim’s supposition is also true: If you have a perfect system, but your CSR communicates with the customer in a less than appropriate manner,  you still have a dissatisfied customer. I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the world’s best companies; companies who manage their systems with an exceptional degree of excellence. In each case, the system will only drive customer satisfaction so far. It is the CSRs consistent world-class service that drives the highest possible levels of customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty.

In the famed words of Mr. Miyagi, “Must learn balance, Daniel-san.”

A good quality program will identify and address both system related and CSR related issues that impede service quality. When our group performs a Service Quality Assessment for our clients, our analysts are focused on the entire customer experience. That includes both the agents communication skills and the system related problems that stand in the way of the customer receiving resolution to his or her issue. The client’s management team receives an analysis of both CSR skill issues and policy/procedural related issues that need to be addressed if the customer experience is going to improve.

The pursuit of service excellence requires attention to every part of the service delivery system.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and bongarang

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