Monitor, Measure and Manage Your Arbitrary Customer Service Reps

by Dr. Gary S. Goodman - Date: 2006-12-23 - Word Count: 424 Share This!

I walked into Ikea for the third time in two days, not to shop but to return a non-matching wood ottoman frame that I had purchased.

I thought I was lucky because I got the same clerk who had helped me the evening before.

But this time, it was like her evil twin had taken over.

"I can't exchange this item because you opened the plastic enclosure with the screws in it," she declared unsympathetically.

I didn't understand her logic, especially in light of the fact that Ikea had accepted fully constructed items in exchange for others.

Was she just being prickly?

Did the fact that she had a break coming up have anything to do with her snap-judgment?

Could she have been telling herself, "I helped him once, and he should have STAYED helped?"

Anyway, she said she'd speak to a supervisor and I heard mumbling behind the swinging door to their offstage area. Returning about three minutes later she announced without a trace of enthusiasm:

"He said okay. It'll take a few minutes to get the replacement."

The same day, I phoned my credit card issuer about reversing a late fee and finance charge. I thought I had mailed my payment on time.

The CSR said, "We didn't get it until 3 days after the due date."

"Well, I mailed it on time," I responded.

"But we didn't get it," she repeated.

"Please get me a supervisor," I said.

"What's a supervisor going to do for you?" she challenged.

"Reverse the late fee and finance charge," I replied, wondering why I had to explain the obvious.

"Well I can handle that. All you have to do is ASK."

"Okay, can we waive the late fee and the finance charge?"

"One minute," and with that she put me on hold.

Upon returning to the line, she warned, "I'll only do this once!" and with that ultimatum she erased the penalties.

Both episodes demonstrate that CSR's have a tremendous amount of latitude in how they treat or mistreat us. Often, they behave idiosyncratically, depending on mood, attitude, and who knows what.

This is not the path to excellence, but to chaos.

The key to excellent service is that it is uniformly wonderful, and discretion of this type, especially to act erratically and punitively, has been taken out of the equation.

Although we're constantly told "Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality," apparently, this is happening too seldom to have an impact, plus the wrong things are being observed.

CSR decision making must be constantly scrutinized through the proper use of performance measures.

Only then, will customers find relief from the "idiosyncratic rep" who is acting like an idiot.

Related Tags: sales training, keynote, ucla, usc, customer service training, telephone training, negotiation training

Best-selling author of 12 books and more than 1,000 articles, Dr. Gary S. Goodman is considered "The Gold Standard" in sales development, customer service, and telephone effectiveness. Top-rated as a speaker, seminar leader, and consultant, his clients extend across the globe and the organizational spectrum, from the Fortune 1000 to small businesses. He can be reached at: Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

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