People talk a lot about call listening, going side by side, back to the floor. It sounds great, unfortunately most of the time it is a little like butterfly collecting, it is vaguely interesting but nobody is really sure what to do with the results.
How do you get the most out of it?
Here are a couple of suggestions:
If you are going to call listen, then call listen
Don’t pay lip service to the activity. An hour’s worth of call listening isn’t long enough to really tell you what is going on. You won’t listen to enough calls to really see (or hear) the big picture. Worse still you might get completely the wrong idea and waste time chasing down irrelevant issues.
Some people will tell you you should work out how many calls you need to listen to statistically, but a nice big round number, like 100 calls, will give you a sound understanding
Categorise the call reasons
As you listen to calls categorise them by the reason why the customer called (what did the customer want?). Do this in a way that is detailed enough to be able to act on but not so detailed that you won’t be able to see the wood from the trees later.
- Accounts call (too vague)
- Failure to set up direct debit (just right)
- Mrs Smith phoned from Liverpool because she had received a call from her bank…. (too much)
If there are two issues in one call capture both issues
Count the calls
Sorry if this is stating the obvious but it is important to create a tally chart / 5 bar gate so that you can see the relative size of different types of customer demand
Identify the waste
Listen to the reasons for a call and the outcomes and ask yourself were they good calls or bad.
Think about the reason for the call
What did the customer ring about? Determine if the call was valuable to the customer or not. Were they ringing because they wanted to, or because they felt compelled to?
- If the customer is ordering something then that is value.
- If the customer is complaining because the order didn’t arrive then that is waste.
Was the issue resolved?
Secondly, at the end of the call evaluate if the customer’s issue was resolved or not. (To do this think how you would feel if you were the customer, this is not the same as whether or not the call followed all the companies defined standards and policies).
The chart below should help:
There is a blank form you can download here.
Don’t let the tail wag the dog
Draw up a pareto chart (80:20) of all the reasons for bad calls, starting with the biggest reason first and then working through to the smallest. The reason for doing this is to show that not all problems are equal.
And that is all there is to call listening, the next thing to do is act upon your biggest reason for failure, otherwise the whole exercise is just about as useful as butterfly collecting.
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