James Lawther, Director of Squawk Point Consulting, shares top tips to get the most out of any call listening activities.
Don’t pay lip service to the activity. An hour’s worth of call listening isn’t long enough to tell you what is happening. You won’t listen to enough calls to see (or hear) the big picture. Worse still, you might get the wrong idea entirely. Then waste time chasing down irrelevant issues.
Some people will tell you you should calculate how many calls you must listen to for statistical certainty. Don’t worry – a morning’s work will give you a sound understanding.
As you listen to calls, categorize them by the customer’s reason for calling. Do this in enough detail to be able to act upon it, but not so much detail that you won’t be able to see the wood for the trees later.
- Accounts call (too vague)
- Failure to set up a direct debit (just right)
- Mrs Smith phoned from Liverpool because she had received a call from her bank and the nice Ms Smith told her… (too much)
If there are two issues in one call, capture both issues.
Count the calls. Create a tally chart to understand the relative size of customer issues and problems.
Think about the reason for the call. Did the customer phone you because they wanted to or felt compelled to? Classify reasons as “value” or “waste”. If the customer is ordering something, then that is value. If the customer complains about the order not arriving, that is waste.
Think about the outcome of the call. Did the agent resolve the issue? Think about how you would feel if you were the customer.
Was the agent able to reschedule a delivery, or was the customer fobbed off with an excuse or asked to call another department?
This approach is not the same as checking that the call followed all the defined standards and policies. The policy may well be the problem.
When you have finished call listening, create a table that lists how your company upsets its customers. Both the reasons for the calls and its inability to resolve the customers’ problems. The diagram below may help.
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