Speed tachometer break for incident over limitsSeventy-six seconds.

That’s the average time an online customer will wait.

We want information NOW.

Is it any wonder there are so many customer service complaints?

  • Can customer service be too speedy?
  • Does speed kill the customer service experience?

The following are customer-saving slowdowns to consider.

Customer Service Speed

Isn’t technology amazing?

As a card-carrying boomer, I am amazed at the technological advances in my lifetime (so far).

  • The internet connection
  • Computers, laptops, tablets
  • Cell phones, smartphones
  • Software, apps, cloud computing

We forget what life was like without them.

However, with speed comes loss.

1. Speedy Solutions

Imagine you’re in a speeding car.

  • You hurl yourself down the road
  • Scenery races by outside your window
  • Your eyes focused on the road ahead

You never notice the person sitting in the seat behind you. Their knuckles whitened with fear as they hang on to the chicken strap.

You are so focused on reaching your destination, you forget the person who is along for the ride.

That person could be your customer.

  • She calls with a problem
  • She’d like to explain it to you
  • You cut her off with solutions

Even if your solution is the right solution, your customer may feel left behind.

  • Maybe she had other questions
  • She may find your speedy response rude
  • There’s a good chance she stopped listening once you cut her off

Kind of like road rage.

Slow down and listen.

2. Rush Delivery

Amazon may have set the standard for speedy delivery, which is basically get it there yesterday.

Rushing delivery can quickly become negative when the product or service is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Those of us in the healthcare industry predicted the U.S. health insurance enrollment site, Healthcare.gov, was a trainwreck waiting to happen.

And happen, it did. Why?

Lack of quality control testing. Among other things.

If you have been involved in the implementation of an online system, you know stuff happens. An effective way to minimize problems is through thorough testing.

The time allotted for the roll-out of Healthcare.gov was insufficient −in my humble opinion (and the opinion of specialists much more knowledgeable than I am).

Another example of rush delivery gone bad is a certain WordPress plugin that shall remain nameless.

As quickly as you downloaded an update, another one popped up to fix the one you downloaded.

The rushed delivery left one tweeter asking a very valid question − Does @______ QA (quality assurance) at all?

Customer Service Speed Kills post

 Slow down to deliver quality.

3. Speedy Standards

The above is through the eyes of the customer. Let’s look at speed through the eyes of the customer service professional.

In my corporate career past, one of my roles was a project manager for customer service audits of insurance carriers and third-party administrators.

Common service benchmarks included:

  • Percent of calls answered within 20/30/60 seconds (varied by call center)
  • Percent of abandonment (the caller hung up before the call was answered)
  • Percent of first-contact resolution (no follow-up required from caller or representative)

Sounds like good factors to measure. However, the metrics tell only part of the story.

Your business’ culture is a huge factor in customer satisfaction.

I remember management so focused on achieving benchmarks, they disciplined representatives who spent too much time with customers.

Yes, there is a need for balance between the time spent on a call and productivity. But what message do you send to the worker who understands that balance by criticizing the time spent?

Think it doesn’t matter?

Gallup’s State of the American Consumer Report 2014 shared this startling finding.

“Companies that engage both their employees and their customers gain a 240% boost in performance-related business outcomes.”

Think back to that customer service representative. We’ll call her Mary.

  • Mary handles a slightly lower number of calls than the office standard
  • Her call-backs are a bit higher than average
  • Mary receives the highest ratings from customers (many sending written thanks)

Mary has her review with her supervisor. Her performance is rated “unacceptable” for not meeting office standards.

  • How engaged do you think Mary will be?
  • Will future customers feel less satisfied?

“The moment that an employee connects emotionally with a customer is a source of untapped power that has profound implications on a company’s productivity and profitability.”
State of the American Consumer Report 2014

Slow down standards that are a bad fit.

Up to Speed

The impatience of our gadget-filled world fools some companies into thinking faster is always better.

Know when to slow down.

  • Listen
  • Deliver quality
  • Adjust standards

Knowing when speed kills customer service puts you on the path to success.

What slow-down suggestions do you have?

===================

Helping you Keep it simple, clear & uniquely yours – contact me for help with your business writing needs.

=====================

BigStock Photo Credit

=====================

This is the second of a three-part series on customer service. If you missed the first, check out Positive Customer Service Responses for Three Thorny Tirades.

{ 2 comments }

Positive Customer Service Responses for 3 Thorny Tirades

August 11, 2014

At times, customer service appears to be an unlikely pairing of words. Unless you equate “service” to do-it-yourself. Our self-serve world includes self-serve solutions. Forums of users in the same turbulent sea of need Customer service agents without answers Frequently Asked Questions that do not fit your problem The business that stands out is the one with great customer service. Unfortunately, […]

Read the full article →

Is Your Business Message Lost in Imagery?

August 4, 2014

Imagery adds sparkle to your business message. Visual imagery brings words to life. The right photo or technology touch ignites your business message. Descriptive imagery captures the imagination with figurative language that fuels your story. Is there such a thing as bad imagery? Can imagery hurt your business message? Absolutely. The following are examples of imagery gone wrong. 1. […]

Read the full article →

5 Traits of a Good Business Ghostwriter

July 28, 2014

Have you thought of hiring a business ghostwriter? Or perhaps you’re a writer considering this path. A business ghostwriter is often industry-specific. After 30-plus years in the health care and employee benefits industry, I kind of fell into ghostwriting. When I use the term ghostwriting, I’m referring to industry articles, business blog posts, ebooks or […]

Read the full article →

LinkedIn Company Page Slaps Me Silly

July 21, 2014

My LinkedIn company page delivered a message. Loud and clear. It was not pretty − or unexpected. More like forgotten A boomer brain moment My company page reminded me of a simple, well-known fact. Social media platforms change.  Well Duh, right? Maybe this happened to you, too If not, please lie so I feel better LinkedIn Company Page If you are unfamiliar with […]

Read the full article →

LinkedIn Guide on Little Stuff

July 14, 2014

Does your LinkedIn profile maximize the allotted space? Do you know how much space you have? LinkedIn has its fair share of stuff you may not know. Not without digging. The LinkedIn Guide delivers profile, message, and settings stuff so you can see what you’ve been missing. Or not. LinkedIn Guide You have two options for […]

Read the full article →

LinkedIn Publishing: Early Kinks and Criticisms

July 7, 2014

Like any new venture, LinkedIn Publishing has some kinks to work out. How the networking site handles those kinks could spell success or failure for the Publishing platform. The following is an unscientific review of early kinks and criticisms. LinkedIn Publishing In a previous post, LinkedIn Publishing: Plus or Minus, I shared information about this latest […]

Read the full article →

Surprising Internet Traffic High and Lows

June 30, 2014

We love internet traffic. Views Comments Downloads I’ll be the first to admit, I am no search engine optimization (SEO) expert. I focus more on content; however, even I’m not stupid enough to ignore SEO basics. But I must say, I am often surprised at my internet traffic high and lows. Internet Traffic Since this […]

Read the full article →

LinkedIn Publishing: Plus or Minus?

June 23, 2014

LinkedIn Publishing opened a floodgate of words. We have tips on almost everything And personal points of view Members repurpose posts and create original content, hoping to stand out in the leaderboard rush. LinkedIn Publishing is officially open for business. Whether or not that’s a good thing remains to be seen. LinkedIn Publishing Background In […]

Read the full article →

40 More Sizzling Business Blog Post Ideas

June 16, 2014

Summer is cranking up and so are business blog post ideas. One of my hottest posts right now is 10 Sizzling Blog Post Ideas for Summer. I’m not sure why it is racing up the charts again. Perhaps the heat is stifling business blog post ideas. Whatever the reason, I aim to please, so I created […]

Read the full article →