3CsofDocumentationAs frontliners in customer support and/or after-sales service, we endeavor to equip call center agents with as much knowledge and competence as possible for them to respond and resolve issues and concerns at their level. All of it boils down to ticking the boxes in all the important metrics, higher customer satisfaction, lower cost, and ultimately a happier bottom-line.
There are situations, however, when agents will be confronted with unique, sometimes difficult questions that they may not immediately have the answers for. Some problems and concerns are simply beyond their competence, expertise, or authority to resolve.
In those instances, we want our call center agents to still competently handle the situation. Not by simply reciting their scripts, saying that they will refer the caller to the proper person to respond, or by leaving a promise for a call back. We want whoever will handle the problem, or whomever the buck stops at, to be armed with all the important information. If the agent and the customer have already discussed the problem lengthily, having the customer repeat a narration or description of a problem twice or more is a sure-fire way to create dissatisfied, if not angry, customers.
One important skill that call center agents need to be proficient on is documenting the call. This is to ensure that when the call is transferred, or endorsed to the person who is qualified to respond, the customer will not be bothered with having to repeat himself as if he’s making the call for the first time.
Here are the 3 C’s of accurate documentation that we should add to our agents’ checklist of necessary skills. Documentation impacts many of the important metrics, including FCR, and TTR or time to resolution.
The 3 C’s of accurate documentation:
- Be Clear. The first step in any problem solving is identifying the problem and writing it down as a problem statement. What EXACTLY does the customer want? Why is he calling? Is he complaining about something? Is he asking a question? Does he want to be guided on a step– –by-step how-to in setting up or using a product? Before closing the call, make sure the agent has summarized the important issues raised in the call. Only when it is clear what we can do for our customers can we come up with the appropriate response for them.
- Be Concise. Note-taking while listening and speaking to someone on the phone may mean writing in phrases. That is OK as long as the important keywords are identified. Train agents to use action words when appropriate to clearly state what the customer wants and expects the company to do.
- Be Complete. Some problems are usually connected because perhaps one causes the other. In this case, it is always good practice to be one step ahead and offer information that may be optional, but might be useful to a customer in the future. This will preempt a future call of the same nature—saving time, resources, and one dissatisfied customer.
Call Center Agents may be likened to first responders in a medical emergency. Having the basic know-how is essential but equally important is being able to ask the right questions, to identify what needs to be done, and properly relay CLEAR, CONCISE and COMPLETE information to a qualified medical professional when it arrives. Oftentimes, the wrong information can have grave consequences.
Viewed from a customer service perspective, call center agents as first responders can very well spell the difference between “life and death” of customer satisfaction. Aside from having the communication skills and basic know-how, proper documentation of an important call can spell the difference between yay or nay.
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