- By Dave Boduch, Nexstar Network Master Trainer
They’ve become robots. Today’s CSRs (Customer Service Representatives) are more concerned about getting the information and putting it into the box in front of them than they are with acknowledging that they’re talking to a real human being on the other end of the phone. Dispatchers take pride in how many calls their technicians can run in a single day, as opposed to taking pride in whether the business actually made any money.
That’s right, they’ve become robots. And it starts with you.
Because what I know – from working with CSRs and dispatchers over the last 15 years, and having been one myself before that – is that they are the most under-paid, under-appreciated, and under-trained people in your entire organization. And yet, they’re responsible for every single opportunity that flows through your organization. Their ability to perform their job at the highest level dictates your success each and every day.
Which is why, as a trainer, I spend a large chunk of my time in call center and dispatch classes building these unsung heroes up, helping these employees realize just how important they are. Because they don’t know, and the people leading them don’t tell them enough. In many cases, CSRs and dispatchers aren’t even given the tools and resources they need to perform their jobs effectively.
One question I always ask the CSRs in my classes is, “Who knows your company’s overall average ticket?” (Total Revenue/All Calls Run). I’ve never had more than 1/3 of the room be able to tell me. Which means that at least 66% of CSRs out there have no idea how much is on the line each and every time the phone rings. If your company’s average ticket is $750, that’s $750 on the line every time the phone rings. If your average ticket is $1500, that’s $1500 on the line every time the phone rings. But CSRs don’t know this basic information, so instead of them looking at a phone ringing as a $1500 opportunity, it’s just another phone ringing. Just another lost call.
Once we can get them there – once we can get them to recognize the impact their role has on the success of the business and realize how important they are, it’s time to get to work.
With our CSRs, we talk about the importance of empathy, building trust, creating value, and listening to customers. We don’t talk them about getting off the phone in less than 2 1/2 minutes. With our dispatchers, we talk about the importance of having more calls than we can handle, and making sure we make the most of those calls. We don’t talk about how quickly we can burn through those calls. And with our CEC role (Customer Experience Coordinator – often fulfilled by the dispatcher), we talk about how important it is to be proactive about keeping our customers informed throughout the day, and to look for opportunities for customers to reschedule on their own terms, making room for the best opportunities for our technicians. We don’t talk about calling customers at 5 PM to tell them we’re not coming, even though we told them we would.
By the end of a class, employees in these roles can see the big picture. They see how important they are to their company’s success. They also have the roadmap for what they must do within their role to achieve it.
They’ve become empowered. Our CSRs are now concerned about listening to their customer, empathetically acknowledging their concerns, and building value. Our dispatchers take pride in how they were able to win the day, given the opportunities provided by the CSRs. Our CECs know they’ve built value and made the company worth more by allowing customers to go about their day and not wait at home for us.
That’s right, they’ve all become empowered. And it starts with you.
Dave Boduch, a former Nexstar Member, now serves as a Nexstar Network Master Trainer and travels the country supporting our members and their teams with best-in-class training for those individuals working on the frontline, in the office, and in leadership roles.