To Get Control, You have to Give Control
For the company and its strategic financial interest, a lot is riding on the skills and abilities of each and every rep in the front.
So, the most common people-management strategy is to minimize the risk by keeping a very tight rein on everything, including companies mandating the exact words each rep must use in all interactions, looking at Average Handle Time(AHT), employing checklists for Quality Assurance (QA) and dictating their every move.
But these strategies of yesterday’s successful companies are fast becoming antiquated and are. no longer sufficient and even actively harmful.
The fourth pillar in creating a world-class customer experience is that low-effort service organisations run their operations very differently and manage their people very differently.
In a low-effort service org, reps determine for themselves how best to handle the unique issue being experienced by this unique person.
80.5% of service orgs say their rep performance has not improved noticeably over the past couple of years. The main questions here are-
- How can companies position their reps for success in today’s world?
- If we want to deliver a low-effort experience, what skills matter most?
The List of skills clustered into four statistically defined categories –
Advanced Problem Solving
Capable of Critical Thinking
|3.6 % improvement in CSAT or in Net Promoter Score|
|Basic Skills and Behaviors|
Demonstrates Product Knowledge
Demonstrates Technological experience
Communicates confidently, clearly
Asks good questions
Capable of multi-tasking
|5.1% better performance|
Has customer service ethic
Advocates for the customer
|5.4% performance boost|
Able to handle high-pressure situations
Takes responsibility of own actions
Responds well to constructive criticism by managers
Able to concentrate on tasks over extended periods of time
|11.2% increase in Rep’s performance!|
The impact of CQ is abundantly clear. It is what it takes not just to engage with one customer, but to be able to disengage immediately afterward to be fully effective with the next person. Quit Taking It Personally!
It’s not the training. It’s not the people. It’s the work environment those people are subjected to on a daily basis that enables higher rep performance, a lower-effort customer experience, and ultimately loyalty benefits for the company.
3 distinct keys to unlocking CQ
Trust in rep judgement
This has 14% impact on CQ.
Do your employees feel trusted?
Customers have different personalities, needs and expectations. When a company mandates that every customer call include standard, company-imposed criteria or questions, it eliminates the natural, spontaneous, human level interaction and replaces with a mechanical, rote exchange.
So, instead we need to
a) Eliminate the Checklist Mentality
b) Remove the Pressure of Time
Rep understanding and alignment with company goals
Employees are more likely to exhibit ‘discretionary effort’ if they understand the connection between their everyday work and the overall big-picture mission of the organisation.
Reps who understand exactly how customer service ties directly to customer loyalty, which ties directly to strategic and financial outcomes are more likely to take control over their own individual interactions.
A strong rep peer support network
This has a 17% impact on CQ but is also the hardest to achieve.
3 conditions for maximum benefits of peer support to be realised:
- Adequate time – Make it easy. to help & support each other. It is a part of job and not a burden.
- True Best-practice sharing – Share how best to serve customers in complex situations, not suboptimal shortcuts or work arounds
- Receptive reps – Enable reps to help each other without being controlled by management to ensure better receptivity.
“CQ isn’t learned, it is enabled.“
Most reps already have moderate to high CQ potential. The problem is that most companies inhibit it due to an environment of strict adherence- Judgement and Control are not welcomed in these environments.
“Give control to get control of the front line.“