We’ve all been there. You have a simple question that needs a human answer. You grit your teeth and dial the 1-800 number. You finally get a human being from a company’s call center and the next thing you know you’re giving lines of lead qualifying information and banging your head against a wall as the person on the other end of the phone reads a teleprompter script leading you both down a pre-determined decision tree that has nothing to do with your question (re: Comcast now infamous blunder).
Humans seek human interactions. The death of the call center is because we aren’t allowing our sales people to have a personality. With so many CRM (customer relationship management) tools that automate, score, segment and predict interaction, we’ve forgotten the biggest asset of a contact center… a human.
Three important tips I’ve learned working in, leading and collaborating with contact centers:
- No scripts. Pivot to a consultative selling outline to include an objective, open ended questions list and QA (quality assurance) check list.
- Never use personas. Personas can ruin a sales interaction quickly by creating a stereotype before the open ended questions begin. Remember: assumptions = make an ass out of you and me. Personas are for marketing mix and creative optimization, not for sales or customer service teams.
- Give your people 100% control of the customer experience on every contact. As Tony Hsieh exemplified in the Zappos model, lead with a white glove experience mantra. That means let your sales and service team make customers happy. Cut out beurocracy and complicated management approvals and transfers. This is the only way to drive loyalty and word of mouth.
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