Why Customer Service is so Engaging!


We’ve all had that shockingly bad call centre experience when our blood starts to boil, our temper starts to rise and the odd choice word might be at least in our mind if not our voice! The memory stays with us for a while, we tell people about it and we might even go as far as leaving a negative review…. but how do we react when we deal with an insurance call that left us feeling amazingly positive about that Company?

It’s all too easy to moan about things…and let’s face it many of us do like to have a good old grumble but how often do we take the time and effort to ensure that an excellent customer service experience is fed back to that organisation? Surely, it’s equally, if not more, important to feedback positives as it is negatives? I’d happily hazard a guess though that when call centres measure customer feedback, negatives outweigh positives by 3 to 1 at best!

I’ve always ensured that I give positive feedback when I get it as I recognise just what has gone on behind the scenes to ensure that great interaction happens.

There aren’t any Customer Service fairies flying around that make it happen though! It happens because the best organisations in the industry invest time and money in developing their people to ensure they are equipped with the skills and behaviours to provide customers with that 5-star experience.

Internal factors are what drive the external – culture, values, reward, communication, recognition……all will tend to be fundamental to that great customer conversation!

But how do you know what’s going well and, just as importantly, what needs an increased focus? Measures! Great organisations MEASURE the “people stuff”. Of course, they’ll have the finger on the pulse in terms of their revenue, costs and profits. But they’ll also know how their attrition rates compare with the competition, they’ll monitor and act on sickness absence reasons, they’ll review data about what their people think about working for them, they’ll know who their high performers are and will recognise their efforts accordingly……they’ll MEASURE how ENGAGED their people are!

As Drucker said, “What gets measured gets improved!”. Words every bit as meaningful for so called “softer” aspects like Employee Engagement as for the “hard” business elements like Supply Chain, Operations and I.T!

It’s amazing to think that even although there is a huge amount of EVIDENCE that organisations with more highly engaged people are known to perform better in many areas than those who don’t that it can still be an area of limited focus for many. How ironic that failing to focus internally results in negative external feedback! That’s when you have those calls that leave you exasperated! And that’s when you’ll tend to move your business elsewhere come renewal time!

Perhaps the next time you have that amazing customer service experience with that engaging, professional and pleasant person on the phone, you’ll remember it didn’t happen by chance, thank them AND take the time to give that positive feedback!

Stopping to admire the view

Just like a Coaching journey, business consultancy is seldom a linear process. The most enjoyable, most rewarding and most memorable of journeys are often those that had a few unexpected twists and turns along the way. Like meeting the old man in the market who tells you that you can’t miss seeing a spectacular, but only locally known, vantage point, or staying a night in that amazing little village B&B you had read about, with the most incredible seafood, but didn’t realise you were going to pass on the road. Decisions not known in advance but which, when taken, added something really special to the trip.

As much as structure in consultancy is important, equally so is the ability to help businesses to clearly think through what they need to do to drive greater effectiveness and impact on the bottom line. Sometimes it becomes evident that what was initially thought to be the core issue or challenge actually has a lesser priority with the result that the focus is placed on something else entirely.

Having that detached, objective, external support to help you see that sometimes taking that winding path, rather than heading straight across the road, can be invaluable and lead to a stronger, more valuable and sustainable solution to an issue, than originally thought.

People might be more interested in seeing the photos and hearing the stories of that trip too!