Winter 2015

Ask the Expert

QUESTION:

We listen for use of the customer’s name on a call. Many of our agents push back on this with the argument that a mispronounced name is worse than no name at all. What do you think?

ANSWER:

Let’s take a closer look at why “we listen for customer name on a call.” Using the customer’s name, like with all other quality monitoring criteria, needs to be driven by a business objective. Using the caller’s name x number of times on a call may be a nice thing to do, but if it does not help you in achieving company and/or call center objectives, then it really should not be on your quality evaluation form.

For some call centers where customer relationships are vital to their core business, using the customer’s name may be one of the behaviors that contributes to that end.

For other centers, the primary focus may be one of sales and thus using the customer name may be an option for courtesy and not a call requirement to establish familiarity in an ongoing relationship. Agents most often “push back” when they do not see the importance of what we are asking them to do and think we are being nit-picky in our call evaluation.

So if using the customer’s name is a critical call behavior that drives a high level goal, then this goal should be the center of your coaching conversation. When a name is mispronounced, it may do more harm than good. For your agents who really struggle with pronunciation, send them to www.howtosaythatname. com where they can practice difficult names. Most customers will not be offended if asked how to say their name—they are probably used to it and will appreciate the agent taking the time to try and get it right!