A few weeks ago Miami’s Dolce Italian won Bravo’s latest series, Best New Restaurant. While salivating over the dishes, we couldn’t help but applaud the use of secret diners to film their gastro experience with hidden cameras. The secret diners uncovered some very real issues that could touch all customers. In many cases, the judges suspected these same issues, but couldn’t always prove it (think poorly trained staff, bland food and miscommunication between the front and back of the house). It reminds us that how employees behave when they think nobody is watching is the real experience.
When it comes to any sales environment, and sales contact centers in particular, callers aren’t much different than diners. They will remember the individual agent, how they spoke to them and how they made them feel. Disinterested and poorly trained agents are just like bland food and poor service.
At SBR, our in-house ethnographers are the secret sauce that uncover these real-world issues. Any sales leader can use the same approach to unearth real (vs. perceived) issues. To get the inside scoop on your consumer experience, skip the hidden camera and pick up the phone* to try and purchase your product or service. Consider these questions:
- How did the inside sales or customer service agent speak to you (professionally, colloquially, engagingly)?
- Were you provided with the information you would need to make a buying decision?
- Did the agent ask questions about how you would use the product or did they just talk in terms of popular features?
- How simple or complex was the communication? If you knew nothing about your industry, would you walk away understanding your options?
- Was there any “dead air” (long silences and breaks in the conversation)? Dead air typically indicates a technological problem. The systems are too abundant, redundant or complicated and the agent is busy fussing around to locate the information they need to help callers.
- Finally, if this one agent were the sole representative for your organization, what persona did they exude? Is that the representation your company wants?
The science of sales and service is built on the end-user experience and a bad one is much like having a bad dinner at a hyped restaurant. A sour note in sales means more than a bad meal; it directly impacts your bottom line.
* For those of you in field sales, you can go on the road and use the same line of questioning (just be sure to wear a disguise)!