Last year, we decided that Callzilla needed to better articulate our core beliefs. I felt some fear and loathing toward the task. I hate those motivational posters as much as you do.
This had to come both from within our organization as well as embrace the customer experience as the drivers to loyalty and customer lifetime value.. It had to emerge from a journey into what we really stand for. So we headed out Route 66 with some peyote and... Just kidding. But I knew the mission and vision statements must ring true at every level of the company. But boy does that take a lot of time and thought. Our mission statement, for instance, was built around two core values: quality and customer experience.
Of 70,000 call centers in the world, 69,960 are horrible.
I always tell my group that there are approximately 70,000 call centers in the world, and 69,960 of them are probably horrible. Those are the ones that only care about fast transactions and moving on to the next customer. I want us to be one of the few who contribute to good customer experience.
Well, what does it mean to provide a top-notch experience for the customer? How do we train our team to provide it? We had an internal discussion where every single person in the enterprise contributed their definition of what it means to serve our customer well. Our Training Manager, Liliana Ramirez, distilled everyone's contributions into these sentences:
Acknowledging a customer's question, issue or concern in a timely manner. Excellent customer service requires effective listening, communication and soft skills. Every customer service representative should be able to be empathetic and listen carefully to what the customer needs in order to provide the best resolution. A customer should be able to enjoy the interaction and feel respected, understood and satisfied by the service provided.
I recently attended and presented at the ICMI CCExpo16 in Long Beach, where two colleagues reinforced the importance the importance of definition and clarity. Keynote speaker and author Scott McKain (@scottmckain) impressed on us that only with clarity of purpose will customer care representatives and contact center leaders be able to deliver an optimal customer experience. Thought leader Jeff Toister (@toister) showed that customer care agents will only become obsessed with providing high quality service once we've defined what that means, and shown how each member can achieve the shared vision.
In the end it's about more than putting a number on a scorecard.
So we managed to get a workable customer service vision into words. But those are just the words. I also wanted to take the subjectivity out of it. I knew that an agent's idea of "timely manner" might be different than a customer's idea of "timely manner."So we've spent over a year quantifying our performance to see how well we are living up to our words. We went through the long process of earning ISO 9000 certification for our management system. I'll write in more detail about that in another post, but we divided our whole operation into segments, each with its own key performance indicators. So we could score, month by month, our financial performance, customer satisfaction, IT department, and other aspects of the business.
We also have clients evaluate our performance, each quarter. Again, they break it down into parts, and they give us an overall satisfaction score. When we don't get the scores we thought we'd get, we take a deep dive to figure out how we can get better. When you put the statements and the numbers together, you get a powerful tool. The statements matter because they describe the principals that drive us to improve everything we do. We try to quantify our performance to take the subjectivity out of it.
In the end it's about more than putting a number on a scorecared. It's the way we treat people on the phone, the way our reporting appears, the accuracy and integrity of the data we collect, transmit and report on. The way we interact with our clients. The way we serve them and respond to them. And the results we give them as well. We have put a lot of pressure on ourselves to refine the concepts, measure performance and practice the continuous improvement that we preach. But it's so worth it. - Neal
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