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Can your contact centre agents tell you what’s really going on? Are you listening?

I had a sales call this week from Standard Life Healthcare. Before the agent could get very far I had to stop her and say I have two endowment policies with Standard Life designed to pay off my mortgage. When I was sold the first one, by a manager at the then Leeds Permanent Building Society (taken over by Halifax, now HBOS) I was told that not only would it pay off our mortgage, it would leave us with enough money to do something special – a trip around the world, for example.

A good number of years on, I now get red letters from Standard Life telling me I need to take action because one of the endowment policies is not going to pay up enough, leaving us £25,000 or so short, probably, by the time the mortgage comes due.

So, said I to the agent, there is no trust there anymore and, no disrespect to her, I wouldn’t dream of taking out a Standard Life Healthcare policy.

“Oh, we’re hearing that a lot,” she said. “Sorry to bother you. I’ll take you off our call list.’

I then asked what I always ask in these situations: “Do you have a mechanism there for feeding up the management chain what I just told you, and for passing on the fact that you are getting the same response from a lot of other calls?”

Eventually the agent said she would make sure she passed that onto a manager. But, I got the impression there is no open channel there with customer information flowing up the chain; that she would make a special effort. Perhaps.

Deep sigh. Amazon has its WOCAS reports (What Our Customers Are Saying) that feed this kind of customer intelligence into the system – front line people are asked to watch for recurring patterns like this. It’s a total waste of resource when most organizations aren’t similarly organized.

Even The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur knows it. In his blog post ’60 Customer Servie Tips’ he features this one:

25. Let Communication Flow – From the top to the first line supervisor, make sure your leadership team knows how to document suggestions and pass them on to the correct person who can properly evaluate and take action if needed.
-Dr. Jay McCurry, McCurry Training and Coaching

Quite right, too. All this stuff about ‘Voice of the customer’ you read about everywhere and organizations drowning in the data, and they aren’t even capturing the important stuff.

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