Companies often desire to provide basic customer service training for their team(s). Our group is often asked to provide a “Customer Service 101” training session that teaches employees some basic customer service phone skills, and we do provide that type of training. We have, however, always believed that training alone, without any kind of assessment or accountability, will have limited impact. A recent experience with one client allowed us to quantify this reality with data. Please click on the link below to download our white paper.
White Paper_Customer Service Training is Not Enough
I read an interesting article this morning in the Wall Street Journal by Susan Credle. The article was about how storytelling is still very much a necessity in marketing. In the article she laments the impact technology is having on her industry, and the way it hinders the human creativity in marketing:
Data and technology dominate the conversations. And conference rooms and conferences are filled with formulaic approaches. “Make a template and put the creative in this box” approaches. Often, we appear to be more concerned with filling up these boxes than with the actual creative.
Her story resonated with me as it parallels the similar impact technology has had on customer service and QA in contact centers. Technology has allowed many large businesses to “offload” common customer service interactions to IVRs, VRUs, and apps. Actual customer interactions with human agents is diminishing, yet there are two very important distinctions to be made here. First, when customers finally escalate their issue by navigating the labyrinth of self-serve options the human interaction at the end of the line tends to be even more complex, emotional, and critical to that customer’s satisfaction. Second, not many small to mid-sized businesses have deep corporate pockets to integrate large technology suites which will automate many of their customer interactions. Many businesses are still out there manning the phones and serving customers through good, old-fashioned human interaction.
Like professional athletes who spend hours in the video room breaking down their performance with coaches, Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) still benefit from call analysis, coaching, and accountability of performance. Yet, I find many companies still want to offload this process to formulaic approaches defined by any number of confined boxes created by software developers.
Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. Technology offers wonderful tools to make the Quality Assessment (QA) process more efficient and effective. Nevertheless, I have found that there is no technology that effectively replaces the very human communication that takes place between agent and call coach. Effective QA combines objectivity and motivation. It both encourages and holds accountable. It addresses the often messy reality of human desire, emotions, behaviors, and personalities. Much like Ms. Credle’s observations of marketing, I find that technology often leads more to simply checking boxes and less to actually helping a human CSR improve their communication with human customers.
In December our group’s founder, Charles D. (Chuck) Wenger passed away after a long, full and fruitful life in which he touched the lives of many. Chuck and his wife Charleen began C Wenger Group back in the 1970s. In those years Chuck’s consulting work focused on marketing efforts for Billy Graham’s World Wide Pictures. He and Charleen moved the family to Des Moines, Iowa in the early 1980s and he did similar work for Mark IV Pictures. By the late 1980s the group began to grow and it was in the early 1990s that the group’s current focus on customer satisfaction, surveys, market research, quality assessment and training began to evolve.
Charleen preceded Chuck in death in the late 1990s.Chuck retired at the end of 2004 and all equity in the group transferred to senior group members Scott Wier and Tom Vander Well. Chuck continued to serve as Chairman of our Board until his death and he was an ever present source of wisdom and inspiration. Chuck continued to serve on other corporate Boards after his retirement but dedicated most of his time and energy to founding a non-profit group, Band of Brothers in Christ, which focused on Chuck’s passion for the discipleship of young men in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
Chuck was fond of reminding us all that “the best is yet to come” at every opportunity. His faith in Jesus Christ motivated every aspect of his life, our group included, and we fully believe that in finishing his journey on earth Chuck has fully realized the truth of his favorite words of encouragement.
Chuck will be greatly missed, but the impact he had on our company and the lives of both group members and clients will never go away. Chuck instilled in our group the qualities of honesty, servant heartedness, faithfulness, and operating both life and business by the principles of God’s Word. C Wenger Group will continue to honor Chuck, his legacy, his faith, hope, and love.