In its January-February issue, The Harvard Business Review reports on a survey of customer service reps that destroys the idea that high-empathy reps are the best. In fact, the most effective reps are the ones who take charge, direct the customer interaction, and anticipate and solve future problems. (The article calls them “controllers”, which I think is a poor choice of word, but the research resonates with me.)
In contrast, the not-so-effective reps follow scripts and prescribed checklists, and only solve the problems the customer brings up.
What can you do to attract and retain more effective reps?
- Hire for fit. If you recruit blind rule-followers, that is what you will get.
- Get rid of scripts and rules and instead provide recommendations that reps can adapt as needed.
- Train for judgment and on-your-feet thinking. (This is the essence of The Art of Complex Support!)
What are you doing to encourage proactive thinking? Please share in the comments.