While I’m away from the computer (and yes, the cell phone) I’ve invited several other customer service bloggers to guest post. Today, Tom Van Der Well steps up to the plate.
Check out more of his posts at QA QnA.
Take it away, Tom…..
Picture a collegiate football game on national television. You are the coach, and everything is riding on this game. The band is playing your team’s fight song. The crowd is roaring and shaking their pompons. The game is about to begin. So, you wave your clipboard and send your entire squad of young, puny, inexperienced freshman onto the field for the opening kick-off.
No coach would do that. However, many businesses do something very similar almost every day. In most businesses, the majority of customer contact is handled by the lowest paid, least experienced, and least tenured employees. The company’s reputation and the resulting word of mouth marketing by customers hinge upon a hundred phone conversations between customers and front line employees.
A lot is riding on those customer interactions. Do you know what’s happening in those conversations? Have you ensured that your front-line associates know what’s expected of them? Are you coaching them to provide a customer experience within that conversation which will give your company the best opportunity to win your customers’ hearts, minds and word of mouth conversation?
Many owners and managers of small to medium sized businesses think that call monitoring and call coaching is the stuff of the “call centers” of major corporations. That is no longer the case. Technology has made capturing calls and call coaching accessible to many businesses that have never contemplated such a thing for their operation.
Consider two true stories…
- A business-to-business operation selling industrial components is scraping by in survival mode with one inside sales person. The company did a small survey of their customers to discover what drives their satisfaction. They then began a systematic twelve call per month sample of their one inside sales person’s phone calls along with quarterly call coaching sessions. The company now has five inside sales people, a reputation for service that has customers willing to pay more for the components, and is struggling to manage growth.
- A regional company has three sales reps working the phones and managing leads from the home office. Sales are decent but could be better. After doing a small survey to find out what drives his customers’ satisfaction against his competitors, the owner decides to randomly sample about fifty calls for each sales rep over a six week period and have the calls analyzed. The sales people can then be coached to better provide a level of sales and service based on an accurate snapshot of their sales calls. A random sample of phone calls reveals that the sales reps aren’t selling at all. The team is taking the orders that come through on their own, but the cold calls which they have documented on their lead sheets are non-existent.
If you have one person in your company who spends the bulk of his or her time on the phone with customers or potential customers, you are operating a call center. The success and reputation of your company depends on how well that front-line associate does his or her job.
Is your team ready for the big game, coach?