Last week we took a look at a case study involving Gavin and his attempt to secure new phone service. This week we’ll break down the problems of the call and discuss solutions for each of them.

The over eager representative

Gavin’s first representative was kind and had a strong desire to be helpful. However, he did not have the skill set necessary in order to truly help resolve Gavin’s problem. Gavin recognized this and was put in the awkward position of deciding if he wanted to be the one to inform the representative that he was unqualified (despite his good intentions).

If you have a case that requires knowledge or skills beyond your abilities, it is ok to admit so. Just

Photo courtesy of Al Ibrahim

Photo courtesy of Al Ibrahim

be sure that you are moving the customer along to someone who can handle his case with ease. Then, seize the moment to highlight a learning opportunity for yourself (and likely other members of your team). Training is a fundamental part of service.

Incorrect information

The next problem Gavin encountered was being given incorrect information. Whether due to an erroneous account of Gavin’s needs by the first representative or a lack of training for the second representative, Gavin did not get the answer he needed.

When you are going to relay a customer’s needs to someone else internally, be sure that you first properly understand the customer’s issue at hand by repeating it back to him for clarity. Relaying the customer’s needs to the party they are being transferred to with the customer listening in to the conversation can also avoid unnecessary confusion and incorrect information.

Systemic lack of training

As Gavin was passed around from one representative to another, it became clear that the organization, as a whole, suffers a fundamental shortage of product knowledge.

Unless representatives know the company, its products, and its policies in depth, confusion and misinformation will run rampant. Invest time in gaining the specific knowledge your customers will require.

Not seeing the customer through

Gavin finally thought he’d hit the jackpot when he spoke with a knowledgeable representative. However, that representative didn’t have access to the proper system and transferred Gavin without staying on the line and speaking with the next department on Gavin’s behalf.

When you understand the customer’s problems and know which solution will solve them but can’t personally do it, serve as the customer’s advocate by speaking with the team member you will hand the customer off to. Do not end your participation in the call until you are certain that the customer is still in good hands.

Making the customer do the legwork

By the time Gavin got to the last representative, he was exhausted by the effort it was taking to accomplish a simple task and angry by the chaotic nature of the call. Being told he should simply call back (and therefor start the process all over again!) was the last straw.

If a call is going poorly due to connection issues, offer to call the customer back whenever you think that you can hear them clearly enough to obtain their contact number. The last thing a customer wants to do is wait on hold again or have to begin explaining his problem to a new representative.

Do you have anything to add to our observations about this case? How would you have handled it differently?