Customer Service Reminder: Don’t Drop The Ball On The Handoffs

Call Center in Mexico Like most everyone here in Seattle, I’m pumped about the start of what I call Seahawks Season – #GOHAWKS. And though I’m mostly allergic to tie-ins between sports and business (apart from the exception I made for my interview with cornerback and entrepreneur Richard Sherman), there is one parallel between the two that I like to recap from time to time:

The most common place that balls get dropped in customer service and the customer experience is on the handoffs.  

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The moment a customer-facing employee promises something to a customer, then delegates the actual work to someone else, your customer service delivery is suddenly based on some perhaps-questionable assumptions. This, ultimately, can get you into pretty hot water with a customer, should any of the assumptions prove false:

•  That the details of the customer’s needs were clearly and fully conveyed to the person who was handed the ball.

• That the handoffee followed through on (or even reviewed) these instructions.

• That if this handoffee in turn handed off the responsibility to yet another employee (or vendor), the instructions were re-conveyed correctly, so that customer support wasn’t fumbled on that handoff.

In an ideal world, everything you do for a customer would be taken care of by the person who first took the request–but in a modern, complex, organization, of course, this isn’t possible. A good CRM or ERP can help here, assuming it is conscientiously used by all employees (again, a big assumption), but even so, failsafes need to be put in place.  One of the best is for the person who initially took the request or made the service commitment to later do two follow-ups.  One with the person to whom the job was delegated.  And one to the customer who was promised the service.

Because, ultimately, it is the customer’s experience, or perception of that experience, that defines whether or not you have succeeded.  And while “having customers do your quality control” is obviously not a winner as far as a complete approach, checking in with the customer allows for a final chance to make things right for them if you ever, unwittingly, have dropped the ball.

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Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2017/09/04/football-season-reminder-dont-drop-the-customer-service-ball-on-the-handoffs/#4398aa2394bd