My wife and I have decided to make the move to a new cash-back charge card to put all of our purchases on. I did all my research online and narrowed it down to two card companies, then I put them to the Customer Experience “don’t-be-a-robot-service-center” test. I called them both to let them sell to me and sniff out any robotic behavior. You see, as a guy who spends his entire day (and sometimes nights) in the Customer Experience profession, I look for so much more than the “what” when I call in for help… I look for the “how”. I’m talking about how they treat me on the phone and the level of service I receive. The first red flag I have is listening to a robot human reading a script rather than a real human.
As a quick intro, I’m Peter Haid, I’ve enjoyed working at Level 3 for nearly twelve years and I currently run our Customer Experience Management efforts. This means my small, karate-chopping team and I spend our time strategically listening to our customers, amplifying their voice, and running programs to create an intentional experience that is beyond what other telecom providers can offer.
Back to the scripts… In February this year, my team and I decided to partner with our service management organization and Forrester’s Customer Experience Council to eliminate scripts and improve our Customer Experience on the phone. Luckily, Forrester Analyst Kerry Bodine had already written a great piece on improving the experience in the contact center. Kerry, myself, and the Service Management leaders got on the phone and landed on some new tools for our technicians. [Side bar – Kerry just rolled out the Customer Experience Ecosystem framework and I highly recommend it to companies that need to start becoming outside-in vs. inside-out.]
Fast forward to tonight… I’m hosting a happy hour tonight with a team of 10-15 people who successfully rolled out Customer Experience training to over 700 service management technicians across the country in only nine weeks. We met with them in-person and un-packed what our intended Customer Experience is for customers calling in with a service problem. In every classroom I taught, I would wait until nearly the end of the class to announce that we are eliminating their scripts. Many times I was met with applause! Guess what? Robots don’t like being robots either! Customers don’t like it and employees really don’t like it. I told them to be themselves, inject their own personality, add character, and enjoy building a relationship with each customer. Yes – we left them with some boundaries and guiding principles but from now on our customers will be talking to real humans not robot humans.
And by the way, it looks like my wife and I have settled on the Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express… less robots more humans. There are comparable cards for the “what”, but they earned my business with the “how”.