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English: Ambulance in Pontarlier

English: Ambulance in Pontarlier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My recent experiences of contact centres have been poor – as described in an earlier blog.

This has confirmed an opinion I’ve had for a while: ‘the best contact centres are in the public sector- namely the emergency services – and contact centre managers in the private sector should go and learn from them.’

If a caller isn’t provided with a good service in the private sector the customer doesn’t get a replacement phone or credit card or their query answered.

If a caller doesn’t get a good service from an ambulance service, someone is likely to die.

So, private sector contact centre manager, here’s your mission:

  • You need to answer all calls within 5 seconds (24 hour per day, 7 days a week)
  • You have 20 seconds to find out the callers precise location and why they are calling (no matter what language they are speaking)
  • You have 40 seconds to brief the next person in the chain so they can assign the correct resource to deal with the issue
  • The solution to the callers problem has to be on its way in another 40 seconds
  • The caller has to receive on site support to their problem within 8-minutes.

By the way, call coaching has to be done to the rule as external audits are frequent. If you fail to hit your targets, questions will be asked in Parliament. You are prohibited from trying to get the customer to visit you web site – by constantly mentioning this while they are holding.

Finally, callers cannot hear the following message under any circumstances:  ‘We are experiencing a high amount of calls. All our agents are dealing with other customers but your call is important to us, so please continue to hold.’

Ambulance services hit target. They do this by constantly reviewing tiny parts of the process where they fail and then they implement improvements. They innovate to get the best out of technology. They know everything about calls where they’ve struggled and are experts in dealing with peaks in demand.

There are some good lessons to be learnt there.