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Call Center Training: Open Your Eyes (and Ears)! Seth Brickner

A recent din­ing expe­ri­ence illus­trates that call cen­ters have some­thing to learn from restaurants.

I was din­ing alone and didn't want to take up a table for just one per­son, so I sat at the bar.  Try as I might, I could not get the bartender's atten­tion.  No mat­ter what I did I could not get him to look up from what he was doing to notice me.

After 10 unsuc­cess­ful min­utes of not mak­ing con­tact I asked to be seated at a table, but I fared no bet­ter here.  The server in my sec­tion kept her eyes on the one table she planned to talk to, never look­ing around to see who else in her sec­tion might need assis­tance.  She would rush out to a table, deliver food and rush back to the kitchen with­out ever look­ing around to check on her sec­tion.  One of the basic rules I fol­lowed in my many years of wait­ing tables: Make every trip onto the din­ing room floor count. Take a look around to assess the entire area, to see who else needs you, and to antic­i­pate the needs of your customers.

standing out from the crowd Call Center Training: Open Your Eyes (and Ears)!What does this have to do with call cen­ter train­ing?  Plenty, because much of call cen­ter train­ing is too nar­rowly focused on ful­fill­ing cus­tomer requests as the sin­gle goal of the call.  Reps don't always learn how to open their eyes and ears to other ways to serve their cus­tomer; they learn only how to react, address and move on to the next call.

Con­trast this with call cen­ter train­ing that focuses on under­stand­ing the needs of cus­tomers.  When reps learn to make every cus­tomer con­tact count, they will:

  • Lis­ten closely to the cus­tomer to bet­ter under­stand the need behind the request.
  • Con­sider ways to add value to the call, such as pro­vid­ing phone num­bers, exten­sions and help­ful information.
  • Sug­gest com­ple­men­tary prod­ucts or increas­ing the size of an order through cross-selling and up-selling if doing so bet­ter serves the cus­tomer.

Call cen­ter man­agers should take this advice too: make every trip onto the call cen­ter floor an oppor­tu­nity to lis­ten to con­ver­sa­tions, observe the demeanor of the reps and look for coach­ing opportunities.

Just like restau­rant work­ers, call cen­ter staff can pro­vide bet­ter ser­vice by open­ing their eyes and ears to the needs of their customers.

Seth Brick­ner is a Devel­oper and Facil­i­ta­tor with Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems Inter­na­tional. In addi­tion to train­ing and devel­op­ment, his back­ground includes edu­ca­tion, tech­ni­cal sup­port and cus­tomer ser­vice. When not trav­el­ing or in front of a com­puter mon­i­tor, Seth can be found run­ning, cook­ing, play­ing gui­tar, read­ing, con­vinc­ing him­self he can sing, or enjoy­ing the hik­ing trails of Colorado.
6 Call Center Training: Open Your Eyes (and Ears)!
Seth Brickner
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