Managing Satisfaction from the Contact Center Seats

By Dr. Jodie Monger

Can a Customer Service Representative (CSR) in your medical contact center have an impact on overall satisfaction and loyalty with your organization? Yes. The culture in your contact center must clearly communicate that fact. Do not assume that each CSR knows this – tell them and then help them to be responsible for that fact.

It is easy for a CSR to focus on the detail of the position. After all, you are focused on the details. While he may feel that he does not have a direct affect on service level, he certainly does. Each CSR impacts the entire customer contact experience, which ultimately influences general satisfaction. It is easy to act as if the general organizational satisfaction is something that someone else is responsible for, but research indicates that no less than 70% of the feeling about an institution is directly controlled by the contact center experience. And who controls the call center experience?

It is time to put our money where our mouth is. If we touch everything and everything touches us, then we must take responsibility for organizational satisfaction ratings. Why should a CSR on the phone care? They won’t, unless you explain to them that satisfaction is the leading indicator of viability and market share. They can and must influence it. The buck stops here. Stop rationalizing why this is not your responsibility. Measure it and manage it.

This example is indicative of the behavior that you must change: The patient calls about an invoicing issue. The CSR laments with the caller that this is a pervasive problem and if she had a dime for every patient who called about it, she wouldn’t have to work. Then she addresses the issue. At the expense of the institution, the CSR has made herself look good. This is not acceptable. CSRs must consider how their actions with and reactions to callers ultimately affects the callers’ satisfaction with the organization.

Begin your move to this mindset by including an institutional satisfaction question on your caller satisfaction measurement instrument. Begin the education process with your team. Add an item to your service delivery goals for this metric. Track it and talk about the effect of this metric. Then add it to the performance review scorecard. Hold everyone accountable for the specific metrics about their individual performance. If you are managing the correct individual metrics, your overall institutional satisfaction scores will be positively impacted.

This is a cultural issue that must be changed through management of the metric. As a manager, you can quantify what it means for your CSRs to move this metric. You should also use this information when reporting the contribution of your contact centers to the organization. Take credit for the change!

Dr. Jodie Monger, PhD is the President of Customer Relationship Metrics, LC (Metrics).

[From the June/July 2005 issue of AnswerStat magazine]