Making your customers feel valuable is important. If you have an employee who is on the phone and they sound like they have been there far too long, it might be time to have a chat with them. I cannot say how many times, just this week, I have been on the phone with someone who makes me feel as though I have interrupted them, or that they would rather be sleeping. The attitude is clear when they answer the phone:
“Hellllllloooooo. Thiiiiss issssss Sheeeeeeila. May I have your _____________ (fill in the blank: member number, phone number, problem, case number, etc., etc.)”
Many times this is an indicator of whether they are in a position of power over you as well. If you call a utility company where you a customer, you have an excellent chance of encountering draggy voice. This is a passive aggressive technique to show people you are unhappy with your job. When a supervisor tries to improve draggy voice it becomes a subjective kind of review because if you are simply looking at the words, nothing is wrong. They have followed the script and are being polite in terms of the words they are using.
Trying to combat this phenomenon might require an outside third party to review your company’s current customer service performance. Simply having people score their call according to a set of recorded questions may not be enough unless you are asking about whether the customer feels valued. Simply asking “was your issue resolved” only prolongs the problem, as you may be losing customers who are simply unwilling to continue to feel verbally neglected on the phone.
My congratulations go out to those who have managed to remain in good form, cheery, helpful, interested and concerned on customer support calls. Anyone who has none of the above and continues to take customer service calls, should consider another line of work, or at least a less public position in the company.
Henry Lyons is the owner of Finestkind Web Design in Dresden, Maine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through his website www.fineskindwebdesign.com.