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Simplifying the Customer Experience

Pharma companies can sometimes make defining and providing a great telephonic customer experience more complicated than it needs to be. We are all customers of some service or product, and we easily distinguish good experiences from bad by using a few simple, almost instinctual, criteria.  Here are a few simple questions you might ask yourself when evaluating the service you receive and the service your pharma call center provides.

Did I feel I was talking to another human being?

Was there an unnecessary distance between you and the agent? Professionalism is a good thing, but it does not have to be at the expense of a conversation that resembles one that takes place at the coffee shop or salon.  Nothing will raise a customer’s ire  faster than corporate-speak.

Examples of  language real people don’t say:

  • We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

  • In accordance with company policy…

  • We trust that this information has been of value to you.

Better “real human being” language would be:

  • I’m sorry, I understand how frustrating this is for you.

  • The reason for this policy is…

  • Was this helped? Is there anything else I can do for you?

Did I feel my question was fully understood?

Did the agent hear what I was saying or did they hear what they were expecting me to say? Agents handle many calls each day, and it’s easy to understand why they sometimes put a caller’s questions into the routine bucket and go into cruise control. This can result in half-answers, wrong answers, and customers who are more confused than before the call.

Did I have confidence in the answer?

Just as many people are not impressed when a server in a restaurant does not write down the order, we are also not expecting agents to answer questions without some research.  Agents sometimes avoid using “hold”, perhaps because it is discouraged by their management, or perhaps because they think it will decrease the customer’s confidence. Customer confidence is actually increased when the agent takes the time to fully investigate the inquiry.  Properly using “hold” is often an efficient and effective way to improve the overall customer experience.

Did my unasked questions get answered?

We have all experienced the frustration of receiving answers to questions we asked, but not the ones we didn’t. This often happens when we are not well-versed in the subject, and we don’t quite know how to phrase our question, or what the follow-up questions should be. The agent is an expert, should recognize that we are struggling to ask all the right questions, and should ask and answer them for us.

 

These are just a few of the more common examples of how to simplify the the delivery of your ideal customer experience.  At Centerfirst, we build our customer experience training and call monitoring programs around these elements, without losing sight of the important regulatory components of running a pharma call center.  If you would like to chat about more ideas and best practices for simplifying your customer’s experience, please call me (317-797-2244) or drop me a note at (pete@center-first.com).

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