I wish this story wasn't true, but you can't make this stuff up...
were at an outsourcer's offshore location recently, where they had tied
yellow, smiley-faced balloons to the agents' cubes. When we asked them
why, they said they believe the customers get better service when the
agents are happy and these balloons make their day a bit
brighter. There were also laminated cards hanging in the cubes that said, "Reminder: English
This is how call centers improve quality? Balloons and laminated cards? I
wonder what the next quality initiative will be...ordering a
lucky rabbit's foot for agents to put in their pockets? (By the way, if
you don't think laminated cards are a common quality improvement
strategy in call centers, check out the photo in this NYTimes article: The Long Distance Journey of a Fast Food Order
you imagine if they had signs saying "check your welds" or tied yellow
balloons to tool benches in jet engine manufacturing plants and told you
this is our quality improvement strategy for planes flying 350 miles
per hour at 35,000 feet? Is it just me, or is anyone else getting tired
of these hope-based strategies? (I might add that when the smiley
balloon outsourcer's client listened to phone calls, on ten out of ten
of the monitored calls, the agent gave the old price for a service, not the recently updated one.)
see: hang balloons and laminated cards and hope the agents do what you
want them to or get process focused and use software to make it easy for the agents to
execute the call correctly so that it is right every time without any
monitoring or coaching or hoping?
Guess which strategy is most often deployed in call centers?
I'll give you a smiley balloon if you get it right.
Dennis has been helping individuals and organizations achieve breakthrough results for over 25 years. He is currently the founder of Adsum Coaching and Consulting. Most recently he was an early investor and the VP of Continuous Improvement Consulting for KomBea Corporation. Prior to that he was Senior Vice President for Process Excellence and Call Center Operations at Intuit, where he drove dramatic change and tens of millions of dollars in benefits. From 1995 to 2000, Dennis provided leadership counsel to top executives in the area of Six Sigma quality improvement at Rath and Strong Management Consultants. Dennis has also been a member the adjunct faculty of Northeastern University School of Business where he taught courses on leadership and human resources management. He is a volunteer mentor with Women Unlimited, a year long development program for women and the Strength and Conditioning coach for the Golden State Elite Youth Hockey program.