The United States is celebrating Labor Day next week. I guarantee you that not 1 percent of Americans know why there is a Labor Day beyond the last chance of the summer to have a barbecue. It is a day meant to pacify/mollify US workers after a dozen Union members were shot dead by the US Army in the 1880′s for protesting declining wages and work conditions in the railroad industry. Declaring Labor Day was a way of recognizing respect for labor rather than a focus on profit or management. Now you know.
But what about the conditions for workers in the Customer Service profession? A lot of their job is getting harder, but soon it could become more exciting and challenging. Right now the customer service rep is suffering from a lack of good tools in hand to sound and act more informed and more empowered. Trust me: they don’t enjoy knowing less than the customer. Their esteem drops when the customer has broader access to information than do they. They are frustrated that the right information is not at their fingertips, or that they do not have the authority to take/make a decision.
What about the multiple types of applications available to help customer service reps identify the right piece of knowledge, or navigate the process, or suggest the right path? Why are these not deployed? Much of the reason is that upper management is too far removed from the customer service function. They are also not directly accountable for improvement. How do I know? I speak to these folks. The ones who are measured by improvement to the customer experience are all the same: committed, excited, knowledgeable, and taking the steps to empower agents. The others? They show me their Social Media, Listening, “Community analysis,” and “Feedback.” La la la.
Some few leaders understand where social and traditional Customer Service are coming together – and I’ll get to the revolution in Contact Center powered by Community in an upcoming blog- it’s really exciting. But for now: take a look at the tools you’ve given the service agent, and then look at the keys to an excellent customer experience with that agent, and see if you have the right combination. And who is validating that – YOU? Or the end customer? Or both?