When we recruit staff, I always like asking them a question, which tells me very quickly if they are the right person of our organisation. “Which skill is more important, technical skills or soft (personal) skills”.
You have to remember you can always train someone some new technical skills, but teaching them customer service – well that’s a different story. If you haven’t lived customer service by the time you’re in your professional career, you will forever struggle to understand the true value of this skill.
And this is where Australians feel left out, when our service providers outsource their customer service to an overseas country. There is a very true saying, that first impressions are everything, and this cannot be more true when it comes to customer service. When we pick up the phone and call an organisation, be it our phone provider, or our bank, today there is a very high chance we will be speaking to someone overseas, to people who although understand our language, don’t necessarily understand our culture. This is key to delivering customer service, and understanding the customers world.
You see before you can fix a problem, you really need to understand the problem from the customers eye. As Stephen Covey said in his book “The Seven 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”. And this is where I think overseas call centres miss the point. When an organisation decides to outsource its front line service to a 3rd party overseas organisation, what they are really doing is accepting that their customers will now be be dealing with people that don’t live their culture, and will never truly live the companies vision.
As a company, this has been one of our biggest challenges, keeping our workforce local, yet be able to continue to be a profitable company. And although when you look at outsourcing to an overseas call centre, it looks like a no brainer decision, from a financial point. Its definitely not the case when you look at the value one put into customer service.