We can debate the merits of Net Promoter System (NPS) and whether it is the most effective and accurate measure of customer loyalty, but for many in-house and outsourced call centers, NPS has been selected as the customer loyalty metric, and that’s just the way it is.
Love it or hate it, NPS is the metric, so that’s what we’re shooting for.
“Ok, so how do we boost NPS and keep it up on a sustained basis? We’re all working really hard on it, and we just can’t seem to get there.” I hear this all the time.
Remember the old story about the two men chopping wood in the forest?
The first man labored hard and steadily all day long. The second man also worked hard but every so often would stop and take a break. While on his breaks he would call out to the first man, “Come and have a rest. I want to show you something that will help you.” But the first man would say “Not now. I’m busy. I don’t want to lose any time.”
By the end of the day the second man had chopped far more wood than the first man. This was a surprise to the first man because he was sure he had worked harder than the second man. So he asked, “How did you do it? I mean how did you cut more wood than me?” The second man replied, “Well, every time I stopped to take a break, I sharpened my axe!”
So what it is about call centers and the reluctance of those in charge to take a break to sharpen their proverbial axe?
Boosting a call center’s NPS and keeping it up on a long-term basis does not have to be as difficult as pushing through the final summit of Everest. However, it does require, among other things, a willingness to step outside one’s comfort zone and admit that the old, typical call center methods of performance improvement don’t work, a comprehensive strategy for meaningful change and a sharpened axe when it’s time to execute.
Toni Hodges DeTuncq, an expert in measuring human performance and author of numerous books and articles on the subject, and Dr. Lynn Schmidt, a leader in the areas of talent and performance management, have co-authored a new book, Integrated Talent Management Scorecards (ASTD). The book highlights 18 case studies and reveals methods and techniques for designing and implementing talent management initiatives that have positively impacted a wide range of businesses.
My chapter contribution to Ms. DeTuncq and Dr. Schmidt’s book presents a case study showing how NPS and customer loyalty can be improved on a sustained basis by transforming the way call center agents interact with customers. It introduces a unique approach to call center customer service, one that is effective in multilingual, multicultural and multi-geographic customer populations, and it demonstrates the coaching and other supervisor skills necessary to support and sustain the improved customer interactions. It also provides tools used for measuring the success of the new approach.
Integrated Talent Management Scorecards is chock full of ways that organizations can design and use talent management initiatives to drive real change and performance improvement. You will need to wait until tomorrow, but at any time from that date forward, use Ms. DeTuncq and Dr. Schmidt’s new book to take a break, sharpen your axe and get choppin’!