Remember - Time is Money for You and Them

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How much is your time worth? For hourly workers, spending time in customer service is fine. It's what they do until the whistle blows. But for the consumer, time spent with customer service is lost time.

According to Brian O’Connell of The Street, a person spends about 6.5 hours a year – almost an entire work day – waiting for service to fix a problem. “Those figures come from Populus Research and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Kana Software. Analysts at Kana calls the "complaint wait" the "hidden price of doing business" in the U.S., and says the problem is only going to get worse unless consumers smarten up and complain with their wallets and pocketbooks instead of their telephones and email messages,” he says.

That is why the CSR should keep in mind just what the customer is going through on their end. “Very few service providers, regardless of service, look at the customer’s experience — from the customer’s point of view. If they did, service providers would realize that customer’s wait around a lot and much of the customer’s time is wasted,” states Pete Abilla at So, from time to time, stand in their shoes, as it were, and think about the inconvenience it is for them to have to come to you and spend their time dealing with an issue that is probably not their fault to begin with. That being the case, they should not be passed around, put on hold, hung-up on, disrespected, or inconvenienced any further. They are not getting paid to accept the hassle.  

Almost every time a customer is forwarded to a new representative, they usually have to spend additional time explaining the issue all over to someone new. Some call this the “death spiral” and according to the report, 17% said they have spent up to an hour explaining the issue over and over again like this. That is why it is important as the CSR, to do all within your power to keep the response time short, and if possible, limit the amount of people that the customer has to be passed off to like this.

While social media is slowly becoming the go-to place for service issues, the report shows that only about 7% of people are using the method, while 39% still use the telephone, and about 33% use email. Email can be great for those who shy away from direct confrontation, but the response time to emails is a deterrent, at least until companies start taking it seriously and putting more people in place to shorten the response time.

Therefore, it is important that the CSR knows and understands the system and overall process that their company has set up for dealing with customer issue, and then uses that knowledge to do all that is possible to eliminate any time traps that slow things down, jumble things up, or totally hinder the effectiveness of the customer experience. 

The chief marketing officer at Kana, James Norwood, properly points out, “A customer complaint presents an opportunity to provide excellent customer service and win that customer over by resolving their issue quickly and to their satisfaction. But all too often, customer service suffers from a lack of integration and misunderstanding across service channels. This leads to overwhelmed agents, lost productivity and frustrating and laborious experiences for customers, adding perceived insult to injury.” Know the steps a customer takes, and locate where there may be an issue, and seek to let management know so it can be addressed and fixed.

The goal of any and all of those holding a CSR position is to seek to offer the most optimal customer service experience each and every time, taking into consideration just how inconvenient the experience is to the customer, and how much their time is truly worth.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, at


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