Don’t Want to Be the Comcast Guy’s Manager? This Technology Can Help

Contact Center SupervisorCan you hear it? Across the world, the sound of  millions of customer service managers slapping their foreheads has now grown into a Niagara Falls roar over this now-infamous recording of horrific customer service.

Nobody wants to be the manager of the Comcast “cable guy.” He even made Larry look good. That’s the kind of service that has put Comcast high into the ranks of the “most hated companies in America,” the American Customer Satisfaction Index annual survey of customer sentiment.

But if you are a customer service manager, what can you actually do to make sure you’re never accidentally (in)famous?

So What Should Companies DO About ‘Comcast-Style’ Customer Service?

Luckily, some fairly inexpensive technology options can help you out. Cloud communications services have really brought down the cost of call centers and their more advanced cousin, contact centers (which help manage customer phone calls, emails, and chat interactions).

It used to cost tens of thousands just for the hardware to run even a modest contact center, because Step One was usually to build a huge PBX-like facility that would switch the calls and do some rudimentary queue management.

Now, companies like 8x8 offer cloud-based Virtual Contact Center service for half a dozen agents, starting at just a few hundred dollars per month. Because they’re cloud-based, no hardware (other than actual phones) is required. Larger enterprises that already run huge contact centers are also finding that such cloud-based services not only cost less than previous options, but help them to manage round-the-clock customer service with workers in multiple countries and time zones.

Is it worth that to avoid ending up on the news? Lots of managers and business owners think so.

And now, since such cloud software has easy-to-use Web interfaces, customer service managers have new tools to A) find out how their employees interact with customers and B) change the behavior (or the agent, as was obviously necessary in the Comcast case). These tools make it easy to direct, coach and mentor agents who might be in over their heads, heading off customer service crises before they happen.

Listen, Chat, Barge, and Record are Your Friends

For example, 8x8 Virtual Contact Center offers four important functions that help managers get a grip on what’s going on in their departments.  Managers can listen in on calls to make sure that agents are resolving calls correctly and presenting a capable, friendly image. If the supervisor sees a moment where he can offer some help, he or she can send a chat to the agent, providing tips in a text format instead of whispering into their ear and forcing agents to hear two conversations at once. If it looks like an agent needs assistance—let’s face it, sometimes the customer’s user interface needs work, too—the supervisor can step in and join the call to help out.

Busy managers can record calls to listen to at their convenience. 8x8 can also provide Workforce Management capabilities  that can selectively record calls according to whatever criteria you select. So, for example, you could record all of a particular agent’s calls. Or you could record varying percentages of randomly selected calls from two different support or sales groups. You can specify exactly the criteria you like.

And of course, if you had been the Comcast guy’s manager and had realized that something awful was happening, you could have “barged” the call, gotten on the line immediately, and said, “I’ll take this from here.”

Then you could have apologized profusely and tried to fix the problem, or maybe offered him your first-born child as recompense. Or you could have turned the call over to your most conciliatory agent, to ratchet down the confrontation and defuse the PR/customer service bomb before it went off. And, you could have recorded both the initial call (The Wrong Way) and the barged call (The Right Way) to show other agents how to avoid the situation next time.

The choice would be yours. Unlike the poor manager of “the Comcast guy.”

For more information on 8x8’s Quality Management solution leveraging KnoahSoft Harmony, click here.

Listen to the call.

Max Ball


Max is the Senior Product Marketing Manager for 8x8 Virtual Contact Center. [...] Read More >