A few months ago the director of a call center site told me that he did not know why and what for the clients called so much (well, he did not say it to me that explicitly, but he let it be clearly understood in his conversation). He was the director of the site, managed 800 people and a big infrastructure, and probably did not believe that among its functions a “little one” was to know the types of calls that their agents attended. He was much more focused in financial results, absenteeism, the achievement of objectives, attrition, etc. Big mistake!
Being all these things very important, he was leaving behind what could perhaps help explain many of the doubts and uncertainties derived from his PowerPoint reports. You cannot manage a service or understand its results without having listened to the calls it answers, without having understood the needs of the callers and the difficulties of the agents to answer them. You cannot sell a service without knowing it, you cannot design an incentive model, a training plan, objectives … without having spent the necessary time listening to the reality of the operation. And once you have listened you have to continue listening because it changes and evolves continuously.
That site manager started listening to calls. Not much, a couple of hours a week. And a new world opened before him that until that moment he did not know, and that explained to him many of the results that he was seeing in the reports … and his financial results.
Service was complex, agents doubted, clients arrived angry, sometimes calls were hung up, the systems needed for the management of the calls were numerous and “hold” time was too long. This, together with very short salaries, led the agents to a lot of absenteeism, turnover was high, productivity and quality were low, and therefore the financial results could be… improved. And it was not all his fault, there were also processes that were not working and that his people applied without questioning them, because they came from the client company.
From that moment, the operational meetings with the client company were different. He already understood what was being talked about, and he could participate more actively in the discussions. He knew what he had to ask for, and he knew how far he could deliver. Even his own internal meetings were leveling up and his team’s consideration was more substantiated. Moral: Listen to the calls, read the emails, the discussions in the forums, sms of your clients. It is the only way to understand what you are doing wrong and how to improve it. Park the reports for a moment and listen. And no, that is not a very operational question that must be left to the people who manage the operation. It is pure information that drives the action in an irresistible way.
It is something that must be done without a doubt if you are the director of a site, but also if you are KAM from a supplier, if you are the Client Director of a company, or even if you are a Marketing, Sales, or Communication Director, or the CTO, or even the CEO of the Company. Dedicate the time you think convenient (an hour?), But be consistent (every week) and you’ll see how many hundreds of ideas per session come to you and how the prioritization of projects starts being tremendously easy for you.
I just read: “80% of CEO’s think their brands offer a superior experience. Only 8% of consumers agree “. Surely only 20% of CEOs listen to calls from their customers ;-). And the% of triumphalists might be reduced even more if they spoke directly with the clients themselves when having a problem. Another healthy exercise for an organization (and I speak of organization and not about just the Customer Management Department): Each person, starting with the most senior positions, deals directly and personally with a customer complaint per month (of course with the support of the Customer Service Area in everything necessary). Although it may seem that we never find time for it, it is worth disciplining ourselves, it helps keep our feet on the ground and focus on what is important. About the reality of how much of the strategy the company is able to deliver. Surely the next strategic plan will be made with more and better information of where the strengths and needs of our implementation capacity are.
Also, it helps to expand your relationship circle ;-). I still have on my mobile the phone number of some clients that I attended personally, and many of whom still remember me on Christmas.