Contact Center Quiz: Are Your Agents Customer-Centric? Are They Empowered?

Brian Cantor

Aware that business leaders can talk without walking, I am not impressed when such executives claim the customer experience is their top priority. I care about action; is the business actually creating a valuable experience for its customers? Is it truly putting the customer first?

I apply the same logic to contact center agents. They may say they care about customers. But do they actually mean it? Moreover, are they empowered enough to actually put that customer centricity into action?

In order to answer those more pressing questions, I have constructed a simple, fifteen-question quiz for contact center agents. The questions collectively assess some valuable concepts:

  • They reveal whether the agent truly puts the customer above all.
  • More specifically, they reveal whether the customer feels bound to the will or the customer or to the restrictions created by scripts, training protocol and policies?
  • They reveal the extent to which the customer is able to go above-and-beyond for the customer (and if he actually wants to).
  • They reveal agent perception regarding performance measurement; are agents evaluated based on how they perform for customers or for the operation?
  • They reveal how agents handle difficult interactions.
  • They reveal the window agents have into their customers – and into their customers’ issues.
  • They reveal how agents process the voice of the customer.
  • They reveal the extent to which agents know – and care – about the businesses they represent.

The quiz follows (to a customer-centric supervisor, the answers should all be obvious):

Question One: Would you rather upset your customer or your boss?

Question Two: The customer is attempting to return a product 92 days after his initial purchase. The return policy mandates a 90-day limit on returns. Do you take the item back?

Question Three: What is your budget for providing make-goods to customers?

Question Four: What approval process is required for issuing those make-goods?

Question Five: You are an online shoe store. An angry customer is complaining that his order did not arrive. You know the delay was UPS’ fault and completely out of your company’s hands. Do you offer an apology and/or make-good?

Question Six: As a general rule, why/when do you transfer calls to a supervisor?

Question Seven: Why/when do you transfer calls to another agent

Question Eight: A customer is being rude and belligerent. Do you a) hang up the call b) transfer him to another agent c) advise him that you will not be able to continue if he does not change his tone d) respond with belligerence of your own e) continue the call but work to end it as quickly as possible f) continue the call but provide him with an inferior level of service and/or inferior resolution or g) continue the call while remaining wholly committed to driving his satisfaction?

Question Nine: You are about to reach your maximum "call time." The issue is not resolved. What do you do?

Question Ten: Your interaction reaches its conclusion. It did not go well. Do you invite the customer to take the follow-up feedback survey?

Question Eleven: The customer proactively gives feedback about the product and/or customer service experience. What do you do with it?

Question Twelve: Why do you deserve a promotion?

Question Thirteen: At which point do you learn the identity (and relevant profile) of the customer with whom you are interacting? a) prior to beginning the interaction b) before beginning the communication only if the customer already provided it at another touch point c) after asking the customer at the beginning of the interaction d) I never do

Question Fourteen: Can you easily determine whether the customer attempted to resolve the issue in other channels prior to reaching you?

Question Fifteen: A customer asks a fairly specific question about a product he purchased. How do you go about answering it? A) I do, by using my intricate knowledge about each product B) I do, by using our knowledgebase to locate an answer C) I pass the call to a product specialist D) I pass the call to someone whom I hope can provide a better answer E) I pass the call to a supervisor F) I wing it and attempt to resolve the issue without knowing every specific detail.