Improving Your Customer Service Needs No Technology

Posted: 08/15/2011
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No, technology is not the devil.

Though some companies are ridiculed for replacing live call center agents with automation systems, self-service platforms and IVR, few call center professionals stand in outright opposition to customer service technology, especially given continuous evidence of improved value and efficiency from such offerings.

Still, at Safelite, making the customer feel valued is paramount, and that means there is no alternative but to have live representatives answer each call that comes through.

"The industry, in many cases, answers the phone first and foremost with technology…as a result, the customer doesn’t get to speak to a live voice until they’ve gone through the exercises," explains Brian O’Mara, vice president of national call center operations in an exclusive video with CustomerManagementIQ.com. "In our case, we actually eliminated all the technology upfront. We wanted our customers to be answered purely by a live voice and without any technology."

The Safelite philosophy has not undermined efficiency—O’Mara trumpets the fact that his team’s average pickup time, currently at eleven seconds, continues to beat the 15-second-milestone needed for a successful call center experience.

Efficient use of the talent deserves the credit.

"We have continuously worked on staffing efficiencies and staffing models to close any gaps that may exist in our service levels," explains O’Mara. "As a result, we’ve just continuously been able to whittle it down to such a low level.

"And it’s a level that we’re very comfortable with, because it’s really not costing us any more to answer the phone that [quickly] if you’ve got the bodies in the right place."

Yet for many customers, access to efficient, human voices on the customer service line is not enough to guarantee an elite customer experience. The quality of the interactions, as well as the demonstration of voice-of-the-customer impact on the company’s practices, matters greatly.

How does Safelite convey the importance of its customer interactions? What is Brian O’Mara’s quirky strategy for recruiting the best live call center agents? Check out this new CustomerManagementIQ.com video!

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