I interviewed Rosanne Dausilo PhD who is an industrial psychologist by profession and is currently a consultant to the contact center industry. She is known as the champion for the human in a very high tech world. Rosanne is a customer service expert and has written seven books on the topic. She is the President of Human Technologies Global which provides world class customer service skills training with the option of university certification from Purdue Center for Customer Driven Quality. They have a really popular complimentary newsletter which is sent out once a week on how to keep customer service up a notch at http://www.humantechtips.com Coincidentally, she also writes a monthly column for Near Shore Americas, as such she is very familiar with nearshoring.
Role of customer service in nearshoring
Rosanne thinks customer service is paramount in terms of nearshoring and she thinks the same thing for off-shoring, as well as in the US. This is because in today's competitive environment what separates one company from another is not its product or service, because we have to have good products or services in order to be in business today. What really separates the companies is the relationship with the customer. The call center has this awesome responsibility. It is usually the lowest paid person on the food chain.
Rosanne walks around with the flag saying “don't forget the people”. Customer service is terribly important. Without customers there wouldn't be business and without the service there wouldn't be any customers.
Improving customer service when doing nearshoring
Rosanne is a big proponent of training. She thinks training improves nearshoring and assumptions are made. People think that if people can speak they are communicating, which is absolutely not true. Communicating means that a message was sent, it was received and it was understood. This is extremely important in nearshoring.
Since most nearshoring is dominated by large Western cultures, distinctly Hispanic, accent neutralization is sometimes necessary because there are traces of accent. People need to be able to articulate. There are common jargons that need to be learned germaine to the customer. We assume that because customers are speaking English that they are all the same. However, cultures are different just in the US, for example. An upset customer from Texas or the south expresses themselves very differently than someone in New York.
Another thing that needs improving is listening. Because there are so many metrics in the contact center environment that instead of listening to what is being said so that they can actually help the customer, they are listening for the pause to jump in and take them where they think they want to go, which may not be where they want to go at all because they don't want to have their metrics go against them. If you are listening for the pause, you are not listening to the customer.
Main customer service issues to consider when nearshoring
Rosanne thinks it is difficult to have a call center without taking care of your people. Customers don't care about what you know until they know you care and Rosanne thinks employees are the same way. Some of the issues to her mind are:
Are they invested in the outcome? They are not working for the end-user so are they invested in the outcome? A way to get around or test that is to do benchmarking against yourself before a project starts, 3 months later and 6 months later.
What is the value system of the people you are hiring?
What is the work ethic of the people you are hiring? It may not be the same as what you have.
What motivates them?
In the same way as you are considering who is the customer, what languages are spoken, what geographic area is being served; you also need to know who are your employees. What motivates them? The number one motivator in the top 10 list is not money but acknowledgement for a job well done.
Immediately in a conversation people should establish their expertise and professionalism. They should offer options, especially if the answer is no. “Sorry, I can't do what you are asking, but here is what I can do...A,B or C, which works best for you”. Diffuse any upset if and when necessary and escalate.
Rosanne remembers doing some escalating at a client and they were not allowed to transfer calls that would go against them. As a result they did everything to hold onto that person until the call went down the dumper.
It is also very important to take ownership of the call, rather than passing it off. What ever happened up until right now “my name is Rosanne and I will take care of you moving forward”. You are assuring people. Customers don't care where the call center is located, as long as they are understood and taken care of in a prompt courteous manner and they are treating with dignity and respect.
Importance of customer service awareness in the supply chain
There are so many touch points for a customer. Some are in front face to face, some are over chat and some are back office. It is a process and everyone needs to be a part of the process. The left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing. Rosanne did training for a food company where people would call up the call center and the call center was not allowed to transfer the call. As a result, the would send it over to the credit department. The only way they would know it was actually being handled was if they didn't get a second call on it. Meanwhile, the call would go to the credit department who may not have liked the tone of voice and would put it to the bottom of the list.
When it was time to do the training Rosanne suggested that every facet be in there; shipping and handling, credit and billing, dispatch and everyone who was a touch point to a customer. By the end of the training the attitude was not adversarial, but was supportive and made a difference in the flow of the customer's experience, not to mention that there was a positive outcome.
About Rosanne Dausilio PhD
Customer Service Expert, Industrial Psychologist,
Master Trainer, Keynote Speaker, Coach
President of Human Technologies Global