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Harvard Study - BCI Approach

On a whim, I recently googled Call Center Confidential (the name of BCI's monthly newsletter) and was surprised to find an interesting 2010 Harvard Business Review article titled, Call Center Confidential: The Underbelly of Customer Centricity (sic). It was accompanied by an article titled, Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers.

Both articles, one based on a study of 75,000 people, directly reflect BCI's philosophy and approach to training and performance management. Three primary takeaways from the Harvard articles:

  1. Organizations often manage their phone interactions with customers/patients in ways that are more focused on internal priorities than what customers actually care about.

  2. Over-the-top service does little to impress customers. Rather, customers/patients care most about ease of effort.

  3. Customers are much more likely to punish organizations for mediocre service than reward them for excellent service, because excellent service is the expectation.

How these takeaways relate to the BCI training approach:

  1. Internal priorities mainly refers to the use of scripts. Patients dislike customer-service scripts knowing very well they are about internal scoring processes and not about them, and agents dislike having to use scripts, because they make them sound fake. The number one rule of the BCI program is that scripts are to be strictly avoided.

  2. Over-the-top service is defined by using exaggerated tactics that inevitably come across as contrived and insincere. Avoiding such tactics and creating a culture centered on genuineness and sincerity-of-tone is the number one focus of the BCI program.

  3. Mediocre service is simply the result of failing to deliver the fundamentals of customer service. The BCI program is based on training agents to master an ultra-comprehensive package of fundamentals, ensuring a level of service that is highly professional, sincerely personable and protocol compliant. We know that delivering consistently common-sense fundamentals is the secret to offering the excellent service patients expect.

The gist of the Harvard Business Review articles is that customers expect their calls to be handled in a smart, respectful and professional manner, one that makes things easy by not forcing them to interact with mediocrity. This may sound simple enough, but it actually represents a hugely challenging standard for any organization to meet; a standard BCI's clients deliver every day.

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