Do you want parrots or people in your contact center?, a photo by Myra Golden on Flickr.
Last October, after I delivered a wonderfully-received keynote in Orlando, I grabbed my camera bag, slipped out of the conference center and visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I’d never been to Animal Kingdom without my family and I was looking forward to just being able to walk around and take photos without the stress of searching for attractions or snacks. The very first photo I took upon arriving at the park was of two parrots.
The parrots were vibrantly colored to the point of taking my breath away. Parrots are not only stunningly beautiful, but they are among the most intelligent of birds. Their ability to mimic human speech surprises and delights children and adults alike. My keynote that morning focused on giving contact center agents the training, support, freedom and empowerment to make “emotional connections” with customers. As I shot photos of the parrots in Animal Kingdom, I thought about how often contact center agents are groomed to be parrots, instead of being intelligent human beings.
Contact Center Agents are often carefully trained with scripts that sedulously echo the company’s pre-planned words. They end up sounding robotic, cold, and not always intelligent. Making emotional connections with customers is nearly impossible when agents use scripts.
As beautiful as parrots are, we don’t want our employees to be parrots. Give your employees the freedom, support, and incentive to veer away from scripts. Encourage them to use their own intelligence, creativity, and energy to connect with customers. Encourage them to comment on things they hear. Hearing a barking dog in the background could spark a few seconds of small talk for the dog-loving agent.
Maybe they could talk about plans the customer has for the 4th of July. Making emotional connections puts customers at ease and it makes the service experience unique and memorable.
Don’t make your employees sedulously echo the words of a script. They aren’t parrots. They are people with energy, creativity, and intelligence. Set them free and I’ll bet your customer experience will burst forth like the vibrant color of tropical parrots.
Imagine sitting in a local coffee shop that’s nestled in a bookstore, and talking over a latte with Myra about ways to help your employees deliver the best possible customer experience, and ways to help reduce stress on your employees as they deal with difficult customers.
Every week, often literally from a coffee shop, Myra gives you ideas that in one way or another are actionable towards improving your customer experience.
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