By Mike Murphy, CEO, USA
Taking customer service calls is a lot harder than you imagine it would be. No one is particularly happy to be speaking with you, and they get a little less happy with every passing second. I’ve said it many times…being a call center agent was the most difficult, challenging, and rewarding job I’ve ever had. The goal is to warmly greet a stranger, figure out which of the hundred or so possible issues they need help with, convey empathy in an honest way, talk them through a resolution, wrap the call with appropriate branding and thank them for being a customer…and do it all in 12 minutes, before picking up the next call with the same level of energy…rinse and repeat 30 or so times in a shift, unwillingly do the same in your dreams at night, and start again the next day without missing a beat. By the way, you’re also logging case notes in real time, clicking through a call-flow tool, and looking up information in several different windows. Heavy drinking the night before is ill-advised.
On the plus side…it’s a metrics-driven job. AHT, CSAT, FCR, NPS, Conversion Rate, AOV…everything is captured, reviewed, tracked and ranked. Your aim is to incorporate the fundamentals of good customer service: Make it effortless, Be nice, Be quick…while completing as many conversations in a day as possible. Talented customer service reps aren’t cheap, so maximizing their productivity is key and has been my professional focus for the last 15 years. Agent chat was the first technology I witnessed dramatically increase agent productivity. Now a great “contact” center agent could have 80-100 quality conversations per day instead of 30. Learning how to translate the fundamental principles of customer service to work within a digital conversation was also a lot of fun to figure out. Chat provided some interesting learnings…including the fact that creepy people are even creepier in chat. Working alongside other talented individuals, we figured out a playbook for best-in-class chat agent training. And now we have chatbots. We’re now applying the same principles from the chat-agent training playbook to chat-bot training. And we’re also helping out agents with bots of their own and driving the next leap in productivity. Great chat agents with bot-assistance can now do 150+ chats per day. And the bots themselves are happy to do 100,000+ conversations per day…and haven’t showed up to work sporting a hangover just yet. Can’t wait to see where we go next.
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