How Your Reps are Ruining the Customer Experience (And Why It's Your Fault)
In a recent Employee feedback meeting that I facilitated for a client, the topic was Customer Experience. When I asked the group if the Customer was receiving the best quality Service from the Call Center, Retail locations and Technicians, they unanimously said "no". I was a bit surprised at the emphatic response from everyone and asked "why" they felt that way. The number one response was lack of consistency. Inconsistency in sharing/providing accurate information and service to Customers.
Several Employees went on to explain with examples. One told how a Customer had been given misinformation by someone at a Retail location which later caused the Customer to call and complain to the Call Center. The Call Center Rep had to apologize and calm down an irate Customer in a situation that could’ve been prevented if the correct information had originally been given to the Customer.
The Retail Rep then told me about a Customer who showed up at their counter expecting something that couldn’t be delivered because it didn’t exist. A product or service that wasn’t sold or available at a retail location, but a Call Center Rep had told them it was there waiting for them to pick up. The Retail service person had to calm down an irate customer and this same employee later told others how embarrassed she was to have to tell the Customer "No". The group agreed that the training and coaching being done was not consistent enough to prevent this and it was happening often.
When I asked the Retail and Call Center Employees what happened when they shared these stories with leadership, they told me that in most cases, the Supervisor had simply sent out an email reminding everyone to give "accurate" information and referred to the knowledge base (which itself had some old or conflicting information, they told me).
One of the Technicians told us he had found out the hard way that his process in handling things was the "old" way of doing things. He had gone out on a training "exercise" with a New Hire freshly out of training who quickly told him (the "seasoned" Tech) that he wasn’t doing it the right way, i.e. the way that the New Hires had learned. It was clear that the company had forgotten to train the current Techs on some process changes. When the seasoned Tech returned to the office, he asked the Supervisor about it and was first told he should have known the new process but when probed further, found out that there had been plans to train the seasoned Techs on the new processes but it had never been implemented.
In all of these cases, the Employees, who may have had every intention of providing a wonderful Customer Experience, have instead been set up to fail because the Company had not done everything possible to eliminate inconsistencies in training, knowledge base and regular communications. Employees weren’t able to focus on what was needed to be done to take care of the Customer’s actual needs. They spent most of their time apologizing and listening to complaints due to inconsistent or inaccurate information.
We can’t hold Employees accountable if we don’t take the steps to set them up for success instead of failure. We also can’t afford to lose Customers because we aren’t taking the time to eliminate the inconsistencies, to train, coach and provide our Customer facing staff with the tools to be their best.
Melissa Kovacevic is the Founder and President of CommPlan Consulting. Melissa consults with Contact Center and Retail Customer Service clients on ways to improve and blend People, Process and Technology for a winning Customer Experience.