Customer Intimacy: Getting Past the First 15 Seconds

Most call centers these days are tailoring their opening by balancing the requirements of their strategy and what their customers prefer. The best-in-class standard is not so much “agent first and last name” or “first name only” but rather what fits into the company strategy and customer segment.

For example, if you’re going for operational excellence, you want to do what is most expedient, standardized and cost effective. You want something that is not adjusted by customer segment or by agents. What your customer wants and what demonstrates quality plays a part however expediency weighs more heavily into the equation.

But for a customer intimacy model, the desire of the customer carries a lot of weight and needs to be tailored by segment. Not only do you tailor by segment, but you also allow your agents to tailor by customer. If your agents are in an account management mode, they know best how to answer the phone (or at least they should) and they should be allowed to deal with their customer accounts in a way that best serves the customer.

Most customers don’t comprehend what is said for the first 15 seconds or so of the call. This plays a big part in the use of the name. If you want to be customer intimate, do you really want a robotic greeting and saying a name that the customer doesn’t catch anyway? Or can you think of a greeting that is warm and gives the agent another chance to introduce themselves after the customer starts to comprehend?

Think through your strategy, including your customer segment. After you understand that, you will be able to think through all the components of your call and come up with the best solution one that balances the needs of both your strategy and your customers.

Kathryn Jackson, Ph.D is president of Ocean City, NJ-based Response Design Corp., a contact center services consultancy.

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