Do conversion metrics kill authenticity and loyalty?


We’re buying a new dryer.  Gas to electric conversion.  I called a local electrician:

“It’s a great day at XYZ Heating and Electric, how can I make you smile today?”

And that was it.  Phony.  Forced.  Scripted.  Designed to do one thing only: Convert the call to a lead.  Made worse by the rep’s systematic effort to guide me through an obvious path (if the customer says X then you say Y) without any consideration for externals.  It’s not the rep’s fault.  She was really nice.  She was simply doing what she’d be told or trained:

  1. Someone gave her a script and discouraged interpretation of the script
  2. Someone said you HAVE to get the name, address, contact information, etc
  3. Someone said “Your bonus is based on lead conversion.”
  4. Someone may be measuring average-handle-time so don’t talk for too long
  5. Big Brother is listening and recording (Did she use the proper standard greeting?  Did she verify all customer information? Did she diagnose the problem using the prescribed resolution map? Did she close the call, set the lead, etc.)
  6. Nothing is more important that setting the lead

When a company mandates that every customer call include all the standard, company imposed criteria, and takes away the rep’s ability to deal with the customer at a more natural, spontaneous, human level the interaction is reduced to a mechanical and rote exchange.  The disparity between what companies track and what customers experience is alarming.

But there’s another, less obvious, problem.  Most companies only consider the explicit side of resolution–literally whether they resolved the customer’s stated issue.  The implicit side of the issue gets little acknowledgment at all.  These are the related, tangental, or spin-off issues that are often more of an implication of the original issue.  As a result, scripted attempts at “first contact resolution” result in another phone call, another inquiry, another “I forgot to mention.”  As customer effort increases their loyalty and overall satisfaction crumbles.  The question that customer service managers should be asking is: “What causes our customers to have to call us back?”

In a high-satisfaction/low-effort service organization customer service representatives determine for themselves how best to handle the unique issue being experienced by unique people.  The best customer service organizations recognize something that most companies don’t: In order to get control you have to give control.


Published by Matt Plughoff

Exploring the next evolution of small business success.

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