By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Does your call center make the caller and patient a priority? I expect it does. In fact, I suspect the phrase “quality service” is in your mission or vision statement, or even on your bulletin board. But do you actually provide quality customer service or just talk about it? Has quality service been mentioned so often that everyone falsely believes that quality service is a reality?
Most call center staff would say they provide great customer service, but the basis of this is their own opinions – after all, they work hard and do their best. (And if they don’t work hard and do their best, why are they still working for you?)
Many call centers try to measure quality using their system’s reporting metrics, such as speed to answer, wait time, call length, and so forth. But these only consider things that management thinks reflect quality. For me, I don’t care if my wait time is six seconds or one minute, as long as the reason for my call is handled to my satisfaction. I don’t care about “no transfer” initiatives. I’d rather talk to two people, even re-explain my situation, if I can get a quick and correct answer, as opposed to one rep that muddles through the call and leaves me confused.
Other call centers do an automated, post-call survey, seeking answers to intangible issues based on callers’ perceptions. This gets closer to identifying true quality, as it comes from the caller’s perspective. Other methods are mailed, emailed, and online surveys, as well as follow-up phone calls. Here’s the main thing: If the caller is pleased, then quality service is likely a key reason why.
Customer service needs to be more than just a slogan. It needs to be a strategy, one that is fully implemented – and verifiable – with the callers’ and patients’ best interest in mind.