Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay) is the CEO of Zappos.com, an online retailer of shoes and such that is well known for their excellent approach to customer service. If you have shopped at Zappos.com, you know what I mean.
Tony has a book due out on June 7, 2010 and is already starting to get a lot of attention. If you are curious about how Zappos grew into such a successful company with a great customer service attitude and company culture…this book promises to be a great read. You can find out more at http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com/
My last entry was about IVR blunders that made me want to scream. Well, since that blog, I’ve been screaming my head off. So I thought I would continue on with a Part Two of that blog to share my most recent frustrations with companies that use ridiculous IVR practices.
Have you ever called a customer service line that offers speech recognition as their only way to navigate through the menu? Well this is a dreadful approach if the speech recognition software utilized is not as robust as it should be.
I feel like a broken record. I continuously preach about the importance of listening to the voice of our customers. Despite the ever increasing emphasis on this subject, we still see examples almost daily on companies that have failed to do so and are paying for it miserably. Enter the following news story.
Unless you have lived in a bubble for the past several months, you have likely heard something of the colossal failure by Toyota to follow through on a recall regarding the brake safety of their vehicles. You can point to numerous possible reasons why Toyota tried to bottle up this problem, such as culture, corporate pride, greed, etc., but as the article points out, Toyota simply ignored the voice of their customers.
A moment of truth is the culmination of countless procedures, processes, and interactions within the business. In the ideal world, the caller (I'll use "caller" generically regardless of the mode of communication) will dial you up, instantly get to an agent who immediately provides the correct response. The ideal is an absolutely frictionless exchange between the caller and the contact center. (The extreme ideal is where customers simply send you money all the time and all the right things magically happen, but we won't get into that.)
In reality, it's unreasonable to expect to have a contact center with an unlimited number of rockstar agents waiting on pins and needles to answer the phone as soon a caller dials in. It turns out that approach is pretty expensive and, actually, unnecessary. As a matter of fact, it can be quite challenging to have the contact center staffed appropriately even when the forecasted volume is rather predictable.
I recently read this article in the New York Times which highlights a couple of separate customer service examples.
The first example is a customer service experience with a car rental company, and the second example is a customer service experience with PayPal. In both cases, a good deal of the article spends time describing the customer experience over the phone talking to the agents representing each company. In both cases, there was a bad experience or customer dissatisfaction. In both cases, the companies are getting significant exposure to the 18 million online readers and 1.4 million subscribers of the New York Times.
Did you know as a member of your company’s contact center, you play a vital role in the company business? You are the touch-point where the “rubber meets the road”. Did you know that each and every interaction with your customers is an opportunity? Maybe this is obvious in regard to Customer Satisfaction, i.e. “The agent’s job is to make the customer happy!”, but when you really think about it, you will see that each customer interaction is also essential for understanding process improvement, brand awareness, and creating customer loyalty.
Somewhere in your organization, there is a Director, a Vice President, or even the CEO that is stumped on questions like this:
It has been said that “if you are a good enough salesperson, you can sell anything to anyone once.” However, in order to sell something twice, the customer needs to experience great service. Intuitively, most businesses know this…but it takes effort to deliver great service. It also takes the entire team to deliver the kind of service that will convince the customer to buy again.
Are our contact centers working hard to provide the level of service that customers need to keep buying your products and services? Remember…it takes the entire team to build a culture of service and it doesn’t come naturally for everyone.