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The Real Meaning of "One More Mile" in Call Center Customer Service

2018-03-16 10:26:41 Author: Source: Comments:0  Click:


CTI Forum (Ctiforum.com(Compiled / Lao Qin): Dave Salisbury defined the term "more mile" in the contact center and explained what the call center agents need to do before they can start doing so.
The Real Meaning of "One More Mile" in Call Center Customer Service
Recently, I met a unique call center agent who, when asked by management to “walk an extra mile for the customer,” said: “I can take the customer one mile more when I answer the phone.”
Recently, "One More Mile" has re-emerged as a topic of customer service. I think we need some parameters to understand this term and really understand the meaning of "One More Mile."
A simple definition
The “One mile more” argument originally came from the Bible: “If someone forces you to walk a mile, walk two miles with him.” In this story, someone was asked to walk with another person for a mile, but Choose to go two miles.
This story illustrates how the extra mile surpasses expectations and helps others in a thoughtful manner, which will be more conducive to moving the aided person than helping the “helper” to follow the “procedure”.
Therefore, in the contact center, if the agent exceeds the standards set by the company to provide additional help for the customer, they will “walk one mile more” to meet the best interests of the customer.
However, sometimes the contact center's regulations will prevent the agent from doing so, as shown below.
What prevented the agents from going further?
Efficiency-based indicators
Think about this. In a call center with metrics as its goal, does the agent have time to chat with customers on the fly, and at the same time maintain the efficient productivity of each indicator?
In addition, is the agent expected to analyze the customer when answering customer questions and expand the scope of the conversation to ensure that each customer fully utilizes and enjoys existing products and services?
Dealing with all of these tasks at the same time can make it difficult for agents to perform additional services to customers, especially if the agent is facing such a severe indicator as the average processing time (AHT).
Therefore, in order to allow more space for the seats, it is best not to use time-based indicators to measure or motivate their performance. Instead, these should only be used by resource planning teams.
This includes the level of service, as discussed in the article, "Does the correlation between queuing time and customer satisfaction?", suggesting that customer satisfaction will not be significantly affected by waiting time as long as their problems are resolved . Here is the highlighting below.
In addition, a 2017 report also found that the proportion of industry professionals who believe that service levels are “very important” dropped from 70.0% in 2016 to 62.7%. This may indicate that the contact center is beginning to relax its service level indicators to encourage their agents to pay more attention to customers.
Therefore, it is necessary to create a contact center culture and encourage one mile more to ensure that there is no contradiction between efficiency-based goals and this trend.
Internal policy
In addition, in order to allow the seats to walk one mile more, think about which company policies are forbidden, interfere, or create obstacles to the extra work of the agents.
Many of us have discussed the issue of extra work with the contact center. Many companies are instructing the agents to provide additional services to customers while at the same time formulating policies, procedures, and logistics support rules to hinder them.
Undoubtedly, in some contact centers, the sole purpose of office personnel is to always refuse.
When these issues are brought to the attention of business executives, the solution is often to add more bureaucracy and another person to the back office, which makes the delivery of customer service commitments more complicated.
A good example illustrates how internal policies can prevent agents from taking one more mile, including a seatman who tries to send their courier to nearby customers on the way home from work.
On the surface, this seems to be a good example. An agent surpasses their responsibilities and provides customers with a highly personalized service, which may spread the company's positive reputation.
However, if the company has a policy requirement, delivery must be completed under the supervision of a driver of the company. This policy will prevent the delivery of agents and customers will not have this great experience.
What do you need to do to get your seats to go one mile more?
There are four things that a company can do to create a culture in which the seats really serve customers.
Seats need support
Business executives, "One mile more" will depend on your attitude towards "One More Mile." This may sound old-fashioned, but it is a fact.
If the first-line agent is asked to go one mile more, the entire company needs to provide a higher level of support to the contact center team.
Then, enter the "how" work phase, including the logic of processes and procedures, as well as the business in the style and manner of your company, and smooth the convergence and transformation between the front office and the back office.
The best way is to start each business process from the starting point of customer service and complete it at each stage of the business, then ask “why?” at each node. It is almost certain that the company will find each time Methods and means to improve this process.
By eliminating obstacles that impede an agent's one-mile walk, the contact center can stay away from the culture of attachment, in which culture the agents rely almost entirely on company policy when making decisions.
Instead, the contact center can turn to another culture and encourage the agents to use their own judgments, empower the team, and encourage them to go that extra mile.
Incentives to motivate agents
When someone is asked to take a mile more, that person will ask or think, "What is this good for me?"
If the agent does not receive a clear benefit during the extra mile journey, then those who are required to do more may become hostile, frustrated, or simply reduce the quality into action, wasting potential power. And frustrate the purpose of walking a mile more.
There will always be a psychological value aspect in this discussion. A business executive who wants to provide a higher quality service must be prepared to reward those who do extra work.
At HomeServe's contact center, they have a dedicated "CustomerFirst" team that specializes in providing additional services to customers.
So, when an agent has the opportunity to walk a mile more for the customer, they can contact the "customer first" team so that they can turn the opportunity into reality and give the customer the best experience.
Then, the seats will be recognized for their ideas, the contact center will give them an award, and at the same time share the “customer's story” on the wall of the contact center, as shown in the figure below.
By doing so, HomeServe people can work with other team members to promote more work, share their ideas, and they can also provide customers with the same rich experience in similar jobs.
Clear communication
Specifically, in detail, and accurately convey the meaning of “One More Mile”. If the agents think that taking a call is one mile more, as a business executive, how do you handle and need to take different actions?
Some people may think that the agent was very reckless when answering questions, but the callers at this time are more hostile than usual. Technology is constantly changing. Agents have more problems than they normally do, and because of the loss of employees, all agents are required to extend their working hours.
In these difficult circumstances, just answering the phone requires real courage, not to mention solving the customer's problem; forget to go one mile more!
As a business executive, are you fully aware of the frontline issues? When asked to take an extra mile of the seat, do you clearly define what this means and describe in detail the actions that are in compliance, do you know that other people are likely to do this?
Speaking of completing an operation, on the day when I was hired as a call center agent, the call center had nearly six months of backlog in the background. This means that a customer had requested a bill or other change six months before my employment date, and the issue was still open at the time of my employment.
After three months of more than 60 hours of work per week, the backlog of work has been reduced to 45 days, which is considered acceptable by business executives.
Therefore, first-line agents must be prepared to explain why it takes at least one and a half months for customers to see changes. It is expected that they will also encourage customers to continue paying bills to avoid any adverse consequences.
It is possible to ensure that action is taken. This requires business executives to understand the situation at the front desk and back office, and to understand the “why” behind the business process from the perspective of the customer.
Continuous training
Training is necessary as a continuous, regular and value-added operation. Often, training is considered "a must-do thing," and then every year compliance training is something that everyone has to go through.
If this is the attitude of your call center for training, then training will not be value-added. Training will fail, leadership will fail, and customers will not see failure.
Value-added training is a continuous activity that will be visible to customers, and agents should be prepared to seize the opportunity to “walk one mile more”.
I once served as a seat in a great call center that believes in continuous training at the team level, where the frontline managers are trained daily, and the trainers are updated monthly and targeted for performance training. The problem is that no one is measuring the value of training. Agents began to think of training time as a futile exercise.
Value-added is an important part of continuous training. At the end of the training, the agents overcome this special struggle and grow into a warrior, and clearly know that training is to help them find a solution for a new campaign.
in conclusion
What is the obvious difference? When guiding the “One More Mile,” be clear and concise. Agents will begin an attempt based on corporate support based on their current level of knowledge.
When they are properly trained and confident in training to help them meet their customers' demands and wishes, the agents will hopefully have the opportunity to “walk an extra mile”.
At the same time, when the agents are convinced that the company supports them behind their back, they will provide customers with the opportunity to “walk more than a mile”.
When their leaders provide "more mile walks" for internal customers, the team will have the opportunity to "walk one mile more."
Dave Salisbury
In addition, when their extra efforts are worthwhile, when "One More Mile" will not hurt their score in an index-based call center, the agents will create the opportunity to "walk one mile more."
Finally, when agents clearly know what it means to “walk more than a mile,” they will create an opportunity to “go one mile more”.
Thanks to Dave Salisbury, an operations and customer relations expert, for his help in organizing this article.
Do you encourage your agent to walk an extra mile in your contact center? If so, what advice would you give them?
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