Human Resource Outsourcing
“Yes we do sir.”
“Does this number come out in your data base?”
“Yes sir. But this is all part of procedure.”
“Well, what about my procedure? The other guy I spoke to assured me he would have a tech team in my house within 48 hours! It’s way past 48 hours and still no word whatsoever from anyone from your side. Why don’t you look into that Robert?”
“I will sir. But first I need to confirm your information. Can you give me your last name sir?”
“No. If you want to help me Robert, what I would like you to do is make sure you have a tech team at my house today before 3:00pm. I gave you guys all the info and the 48 hours to attend to my concern. Now, I will have to insist because my subscription to your company’s DSL has been paid in advance.”
“Again, I understand where you are coming from sir…”
“No you don’t because if you did you would have done something about it rather than waste time getting my name. Now, can you guarantee a visit from your tech team today at 3:00pm?”
“Sir, I will have to cascade the matter to my supervisor.”
“Can I talk to your supervisor?”
“She’s busy right now with another call.”
“Can I put you on hold?”
The Solution to Poor Customer Service
I’ve been there before. Your blood pressure must have gone up slightly while reading the exchange between the customer and the agent.
Customer Service is an integral function of all businesses. It is the medium by which the company is able to interact directly with the end-user of its product or service. The second a customer reaches out and interacts with the company’s customer service agent, it is an opportunity to retain the customer and potentially build new markets.
The objectives of customer service are clearly defined regardless of industry.
1. To attend to all issues and concerns immediately
2. To competently address all issues and concerns
3. To expediently resolve all issues and concerns
Customer service is all about creating an experience for the end-user from the moment of purchase until the expiration of the product or service. It is a simple concept which many customer service providers do not understand.
Service providers refuse to understand?
The problem with customer service is easily identifiable. It’s on the receiving end of the phone call or the chat message. The problem with customer service is PEOPLE. Service providers know this but instead of addressing the problem directly, they resort to technology, more processes or simply terminate the agent and hire a new one. Technology, implementing additional processes and adapting a “hire then fire” policy will not fix the problem because the factors that created it are still present.
Customer service is all about relationships. The dependence on scripts will remove the agent’s ability to interact with the customer through a process of reaction and feedback. The agent is reduced to nothing more than an employee paid to read a script; bereft of any opportunity to make decisions or empathize with the customer. Once you remove the cycle of reaction and feedback, you cannot establish any connection with the customer.
The problem with customer service is that the service providers are trying to automate the human organism out of fear these emotional and irrational beings will make mistakes and put the company at risk.
Customer service on a large scale functions on the principles of fear-based management. Companies are fearful of the unpredictability of their own people, fear the reality of failure and fear the possibility of mistakes.
And this is why agents like “Robert” will continue to haunt you.
In response to the rising clamor versus sub-standard customer service practices, a new branch of outsourcing services has grown in popularity in recent years. Human Resource Outsourcing is a branch of outsourcing that addresses the problems associated with managing the human resource. As the term implies, companies outsource the task of recruiting the human resource to a third party service provider.
By adapting Human Resource Outsourcing or HRO strategies in their business framework, companies are passing the risk associated with labor relations to the HRO provider. In theory, by transferring the liabilities inherent with managing the human resource to the HRO provider, the company is able to address its own fears with people.
In addition to moderating the risk factors, Human Resource Outsourcing also lowers the operating costs of the company by removing the need to maintain its own HR Department. HRO service providers are acknowledged as specialists or experts in manpower management and are thus, better qualified to design and implement programs in recruitment, selection and training. Acquiring the services of an HRO provider would greatly benefit small business owners who have limited capital to spend on human resource.
But the biggest contribution of Human Resource Outsourcing is its ability to optimize the inherent skills and capabilities of people and develop them into long-term productive assets. If a customer service agent can be re-oriented to acknowledge his strengths, accept his weaknesses so he can build on them, he will not be fearful of failure and will have greater confidence to face challenges and overcome them.
What is the logic of providing scripts and spiels if each customer is a unique individual who reacts and gives feedback differently from the next customer? A customer from Australia will react and give feedback differently than a customer from Germany. Phrases like “I understand where you are coming from”, “I will have to cascade this to my Supervisor”, “I’m sorry sir but my Supervisor is busy with another client” are so overused these have become cliché. These phrases will not resolve but delay service and will only succeed in further agitating the customer.
The customer agent must be allowed to receive input from customers, react accordingly and present feedback as necessary. The agent must be allowed to be human in the entire process. Otherwise a connection will not be established and the process will fail. All of these will be possible only if the parties in the supply chain; the service provider and the agents, will be ready and willing advocates of humanizing customer service.