Spirit of the Law vs. Letter of the Law

Do Your People Follow the Letter of the Law?

Saving the baby and the bath water

Last week, I attended a Dan Pink event in DC (hosted by Michelle James). Somehow the conversation turned to call centers and Dan made an interesting and funny observation… Imagine dealing with a company via their call center, getting great service and expressing how you felt about it, only to receive a standardized (robotic) response from the person on the other end. It might go something like this:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
You: “Thank you for helping me, Mary. You did such a great job of solving my problem and I’m really impressed with how you went above and beyond.
“Mary” (in an unnatural/scripted tone): “Is there anything else I can help you with today? Was I able to answer all of your concerns to your satisfaction?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Knock, knock! Anybody home?!? With one or two little sentences, Mary could have possibly taken your “10” experience down to about an “8.” Bummer.
This observation had me think of just how often we deal with people who are following the letter of the law, rather than the spirit. I’m certain that a call center with these types of scripts as in the above example intend to create a satisfactory (or better, hopefully) experience for their clients. Trouble is, too often we teach our teams how to handle situations in an if/then manner. We’ve dumbed it down to an algorithm and algorithms can be performed by computers (which many call centers have gone to, unfortunately).
But here’s the thing. I feel that, by and large, we’re looking for — even craving — a human experience.
What are you looking for, when dealing with a company either in person or via phone, e-mail, social media, or otherwise? I’m looking for [Read more…]

r u “There” ?

How “Human” is Your Customer/Client “Experience?”

4 Tips to Recapturing Some of the Good Ol’ Days

The mother of a 13-year-old told me a very interesting story. After she encouraged him to do so, her son wrote a thank-you card to his grandmother in response to a recent gift he’d received … he wrote it with pen and paper in text language!

“Tx grnma 4 the awesome new fone. Mus’ve cost u alotta $$. U rock!”

According to Nielsen*, “During the second quarter of 2008, a typical U.S. mobile subscriber placed or received 204 phone calls each month. In comparison, the average mobile customer sent or received 357 text messages per month.”

Did you know that we experience 1/20th the number of human interactions today, as compared to just 20 years ago? Put another way, Baby Boomers grew up with 20 times more human interactions than Generation Y (approximate current ages 9 to 29).

While this is certainly startling, it’s also clear as to why it’s so true. Often, when I hear a Baby Boomer say, “These kids today!” what I’m hearing is a frustration around a “disconnect” that they’re feeling.

How is it possible that we only have a twentieth of what we had just 20 years ago, with regard to human interaction? [Read more…]