What do you mean you’re not perfect?


Your company ships the wrong product, makes an error on the invoice, or gives incorrect information.  Mistakes can and do happen.  Luckily, customers are human and accepting of mistakes that happen.  It is all about how your company handles these mistakes that differentiates you from your competition. 

The quote by Donald Porter, “Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They expect you to fix things when they go wrong” is true in any industry, for any product or service.  And this is even more magnified when your business uses call centers to interact with customers. 

When customers call to resolve an issue the agent on the phone is not just a person.  Rather, they are the COMPANY.  How this agent interacts with the customer and how they deliver accurate information reflect directly on the company.  The agent must be polite, efficient, and be able to resolve issues on the first call while sticking to company policies.  An unsatisfactory outcome can cause severe customer abrasion and brand erosion.  And given the cost of acquiring new customers, losing revenues on one interaction will probably be much cheaper than losing the customer for life – then having to acquire a brand new customer. 

But how do you ensure that everyone within your call center knows how to handle mistakes?  How can they do that when the team is growing from 10 agents to 50 or more?

In order to increase your call center team’s success rate in managing difficult interactions your agents and supervisors will need the following systems, training, tools and reports.

  1. Technology:
    • Telephony Platform for skills-based call routing
    • CRM for detailed talking points or scripting and a customer history of all interactions
    • System improvements – a formal process to request changes.
  2. Training:
    • New Hire Training – A robust training program outlining top reasons why customers call and how to properly handle them
    • Residual Training – Maintaining up to date messaging as new items are introduced
  3. Quality Monitoring Team:
    • Quality Monitoring and Quality Reports – Monitoring calls to identify opportunities for improvement and coaching
    • Respond immediately to Google reviews and continue to monitor other social media outlets.  Create a report for all reviews and complaints to discuss with leadership.
  4. Escalation Process:
    • When a frontline agent is unable to resolve a mistake or if a customer asks for a supervisor, a proper escalation process should be in place.
  5. Intra-department communication:
    • Quickly and clearly communicating to other departments of an unusual event can greatly reduce complications. One example is to notify the call center team that a recent error may cause a spike in call volume.  Getting ahead of the problem will prepare the call center agents and set them up for success.

By ignoring that mistakes can happen and by not preparing your teams on how to handle them, you risk damaging your brand, your growth, and your customer life cycle.  The sooner you have a plan to handle mistakes the sooner you will make an upset customer happy again which in turn will lower churn rates, increase the customer life cycle and improve revenue. 

Remember that an unhappy customer will tell 10 people (potential customers) about their poor experience while a satisfied customer will only tell 5 people of their positive experience.  That means the perception of poor customer interactions will grow rapidly and take significant time to erase.  The goal is for every call to produce a happier customer.

When it comes to call centers, we are the authority. And we are free.