Monthly Newsletter

Online Newsletter for Call Center Personnel
Rosanne D'Ausilio, Ph.D. Editor and Publisher
Volume XXI, Issue 3

Date: March 1, 2010 - A Whale of a Tale

I recently went whale watching (for the first time ever) on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic and was impressed with the guides on the boat…demonstrating excellent customer service.  Why?  Here are 5 reasons.

1)    1) You must have patience and remember that you have more knowledge of your product or service than the customer and be patient with them.  When going whale watching, you must be patient, waiting for the whales to (hopefully) show up.

2)    2) You must take your customers on the journey with you.  Have you ever had the experience of calling customer service and after having explained your issue, given your order number or account number, and then there is dead silence?  You may even say, “Hello, is anyone there?” In fact the person was there but never said a word.  Perhaps they were looking up your account, perhaps their computer was slow.  But they haven’t told you anything.  They haven’t taken you on the journey.  A simple, “Bear with me, our system is very slow today.”  Or “I am bringing up your account now, it’ll take just a moment.”  In whale watching we had a lecture for almost an hour as we left shore on the history of whales, the various kinds, whether they were on the endangered species list, etc.  Photos were sent around as well supporting what we were hearing and learning.  The presentation was in English and translated into French and German.  This took about an hour because that’s how long the boat took to get us to the area where the whales come each year to spawn between January and March.  Imagine if we had to sit still on hard plastic benches for one hour not knowing if we’d even see whales as there is no guarantee.  The journey would have seemed quite long.  As it was it passed quickly.  Questions were encouraged and intelligently answered.

3)    3) Involve your customers in the interaction.  While there are moments of silence, engage them in conversation.  Create a “you and me and here’s the issue” construct rather than ‘you vs me’ an adversarial construct which many times does feel like the case.  In whale watching, the guide had us participate in the watching.  Those of us on the right side of the boat were responsible for looking at what would be 3 pm on a clock.  Opposite to us were 9 am sighters and so on.

4)    4) Move customers through to a positive interaction and close.  Ask if there is anything you can help them with and if so, begin the process again.  If not, thank them for contacting you.  In whale watching, once we saw whales, we began the process again.  Actually the guide timed how long before the whale surfaced again and then alerted us when it was the next time for them to show themselves, and approximately where she thought that would be, and we were all at the ready.

5)    5) Delight the customer.  To delight the customer one needs to:

a.    Inform

b.    Educate

c.    Establish professionalism

d.    Answer questions intelligently

e.    Take ownership of the interaction

They did all of that.  I learned more about humpback whales in that short trip than I had ever known before.  She delighted this customer!

This trip certainly gave me—and I hope you--something to think

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