If Superman was answering the phone in your call centre, what would he do? Would Batman do any better?
Read on to find out which superhero would give the best customer service, and which special abilities your agents can develop to become call centre superheroes.
Which superhero would do best in a call centre?
This was a question that we recently posed to our readers on our Twitter Page. Superman was a popular choice.
“No doubt it would be Superman! Batman is too moody and the Hulk is too irritable! Superman gets the ‘need for good PR’!” said FrontRange Solutions.
“Superman hands down! Nothing says ‘how can I help you?’ better than his charming smile and bright red cape,” said RPOA.
But versatility would also be a useful call centre asset.
“I think it would have to be Elasti-Girl; she’d provide the most flexible customer service ever!” said Sara Lewis.
Which ‘special powers’ would help deliver great customer service? Call Centre Helper took to the mean streets of Gotham City to find out.
Super listening skills
Any good customer service agent must have great listening skills.
“Ever notice how superheroes never interrupt or jump to conclusions? Superheroes are good listeners! Call centre agents need a variety of skills but the most important skill is the ability to listen to the customer,” said Bill Leinweber, Chief Experience Officer at Landmark Experience Consulting.
They must also be honest. All true superheroes make a stand for honesty against corruption and vice. Call centre agents must do the same, and one superhero in particular provides an honest role model.
“Let me be the first to say Wonder Woman, with her golden lasso of truth. This would be valuable both for the agents – sincerity – and for the callers, as it’s easier to help someone who is telling the truth,” said Heidi Miller, Chief Conservation Officer at Spoken Communications.
Saving the day
No customer service superhero can solve every customer problem on their own. A team effort is important, meaning collaboration with other agents and management throughout the call centre.
“Management should provide proper assistance, efficient trouble-shooting tools and should not evaluate the agent based on the average handling time of calls,” said Jay Gollamudi, Senior Information Analyst at Verizon Wireless.
So, should we create new superheroes for the call centre?
When customer frustration mounts, the call centre must turn to “The Empathiser”. She is blessed with a deep understanding of customer frustrations, and she can turn the angriest complainants into satisfied customers by effectively and efficiently sorting out their problems. The Empathiser often steps in to save the day when all looks lost.
“Silver Tongue” gets results, and his sales abilities border on the telepathic. He knows what people want. He greets customers with unflagging enthusiasm, and never lets up until a sale is made. As the ultimate ‘people person’ he has a way with words that could convince a customer to buy a whole new bathroom suite when all they called up for was a new toilet-roll holder. His innate ability to up-sell means he smashes targets every week. Only alcoholism and economic recession can harm him.
“I’ll be round in a minute”
Boiler Repair Man always shows up on time, arriving at the scene of the customer’s ‘crime’ faster than the competition. His magic toolbox contains any part needed to fix your boiler – or washing machine, computer, or pretty much any other problem. No more waiting around because the service guys don’t have the right part with them in the van. Boiler Repair Man delivers every time – if you happen to have ordered groceries online.
The hard-working lynch-pin of the call centre. Rumour has it Multi-Mouth was created in a top-secret local government customer service genetic engineering experiment gone horribly wrong. It isn’t clear whether Multi-Mouth is male or female, as no one can distinguish gender characteristics amongst the tangle of arms and mouths that descend on vine-like stalks from its vaguely humanoid head. Some say it never goes home, working endlessly without a break. Since Multi-Mouth began work, call queues are a thing of the past. It can answer more than ten calls simultaneously, never losing track of a customer, staying with each call until it is successfully resolved. Of course, in the real world, few customer service agents have multiple mouths. But many conscientiously work hard and take pride in their job. Just like a superhero would.
Supervisors and team leaders can be superheroes too. As a natural leader the supervisor makes sure his or her team of superheroes use their powers for good rather than evil. Think Professor Xavier in the X-Men.
The management skills of Commissioner Gordon
The Executive is the public face of the shadowy Board of Directors, a mysterious organisation that meets from time to time behind a closed door marked ‘Boardroom’. What exactly they discuss is anyone’s guess, but when word of a meeting spreads, it’s a good bet The Executive will soon show up in the call centre. His loyalties aren’t always clear, but his unexpected visits sometimes bring promises of renewed commitment, focus and investment. He’s similar to Commissioner Gordon, Batman’s sometime ally in Gotham City’s Police Department.
Batman’s super gadgets
Not every superhero is born with superhuman abilities. Not every customer service agent has innate empathy, listening ability and sales skills. Sometimes a superhero has to be created. Batman doesn’t have any superhuman powers. He isn’t indestructible, can’t read minds, and isn’t a genetic mutation of a spider. He’s Bruce Wayne, ordinary bloke – well, ordinary billionaire play-boy – but an array of gadgets allows him to become Batman, the crime-fighting caped crusader. Call centres can learn from his methods. Even agents who can’t read minds can still become superheroes given the right equipment.
Enable single sign-on
All systems and workflow in a call centre should be set up to allow agents to take calls as smoothly as possible. Take computer sign-on, for example. When Batman hears of trouble, he doesn’t have to sit in the Batmobile for five minutes, typing in his login details and waiting for it to boot up. He’s away instantly. Call centre staff also need to be ready to go the moment they get a call from a customer in distress.
“Contact centre agents often have multiple logins and must switch between different applications, resulting in long hold times for customers and inefficient business processes,” said Aphrodite Brinsmead, Associate Analyst of Customer Interaction Technologies at Datamonitor.
Eliminate the need to flick between different software screens, cutting and pasting information between browser windows. A system that alerts agents to opportunities to up-sell – in real time – could add a few sales seamlessly, almost like mind control!
Batman built his own tools, assisted by Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) in the recent films. Call centre agents must be trained properly, according to Francis Carden of OpenSpan.
“Many superheroes had difficulty harnessing their powers in their younger days. By investing in a comprehensive training programme, teaching superhero agents to utilise the tools and applications at their disposal, a call centre manager can ensure that all investments, including staff, hardware and software, are being used to their full potential,” said Carden.
What would you do to create your own superheroes? Let us know your thoughts in an email to Call Centre Helper.