Online Newsletter for Call Center Personnel
Rosanne D'Ausilio, Ph.D. Editor and Publisher
Volume I, Issue 13

Date: Septenber 1, 2000 - Mixed Message Mania, Part II

Welcome back to mixed messages. Thanks to those of you who sent me your favorites, or should I say your pet peeves! Let's look at another one.


The idea of all-in-one service is to handle the customer so well that a second call is unnecessary and nobody's feathers get ruffled. However, when you lack the authority to be flexible with a customer, callbacks are inevitable--your hands are tied. To provide all-in-one-call service, you must have authority to override policy.

For example, if a customer wants to return something beyond the allotted return time, do you have the authority to extend the terms of the return? To waive charges for shipping and handling? To expedite orders to overnight delivery rather than two, three or five days? To give rebates, refunds or discounts because of service inconveniences? To make and take exceptions, to stretch or break the rules on occasion?

If you can answer yes to all or most of the above, then you have enough authority to close with the customer and be 'one and done.' However, if you are unable to answer yes to these questions, do you have to transfer the call, or put a customer on hold and get permission, or get back to the customer, or just say no? In today's marketplace, this is not efficient or effective

How do you handle a customer when you have no authority to go beyond the limits? You tell the truth: "I hear your request and I would be happy to do what you are asking. However, it is beyond my job description. If you are willing to hold on for just a moment, I can (1) check with my supervisor and get permission to do what you are asking, (2) I can transfer you to a supervisor and she can help you, or (3) I can take your phone number and call you back within the hour." Caveat: Don't make agreements that you can't keep.

Note: All of these options take time, yours, the customer's, and the supervisor, making all three of you unavailable to other calls in queue.

In subsequent newsletters, we'll look at:

We make No Exceptions vs. Egg on My Face
Follow the Script vs. Flow with the Customer
Team vs. Chosen (special) Ones

Quote of the month:

A customer doesn't care what you know, until they knowthat you care


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