Volume 2, Number 9 - May 11, 2007

Our Contact Info:

David Butler
Executive Director

National Association of Call Centers
100 South 22nd Avenue
Hattiesburg MS 39401
Tel: 601.447.8300



In Queue circulation 18,954
NACC members 3,525
Job Board Listings 29

In This Issue
Lost Business-Not So Enterprising
Thank You for Choosing Us
What I am Watching

Share the Knowledge

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"Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality."
-Peter Drucker (1909 - 2005) 



Call Center Week is the largest case study driven call enter event in the marketplace!

Fun Facts

According The Times of India on 7 May, in a recent survey conducted in the UK, 82% of the respondents stated that they would rather not speak to someone in an overseas call center when discussing financial affairs. Similarly 4/5 of the people surveyed worried over account misunderstandings and 3/4 were concerned over security when speaking to someone in an overseas call center.

Note:  Most research with similar findings have not followed a solid scientific process. A solid science led survey on this issue is needed with all information about the subject shared with all parties.-DB-

Picture of the Week

This is a picture of a penny I found on the ground the other day. Since I have stared to walk to work (short distance) I have found much loose change. Every time I find a penny, dime and a quarter on the ground, I think, what other countries can you walk down a sidewalk and find money? I have traveled to many countries, some developed and some less developed. But only in the United States have I found money just laying on the ground. Is it not worth picking up some change if you dropped it? Are we moving too fast to see it? I wonder if history will record the United States in the late 20th and early 21st centuries as one of the wealthiest countries in the world that money could be found lying around on the ground?

Frank Capra's You Can't Take it With You


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Lost Business-Not So Enterprising

I was sitting at an airport last week waiting for my next flight and had to move a car rental reservation from 2 days to one. I had my reservation number and a toll free number to Enterprise car rental company along with my cell phone. I called the number to their call center and received the following automated message.

"Thank you for calling Enterprise Rent-a-Car. In order to assist you as quickly as possible, please select one of the following three options. If you are calling about picking up a car at a U.S. airport location press 1. For rates and reservations at other Enterprise locations, press 2. If you need assistance with your current or previous rental, or need other assistances, press 3."

I pressed 1 since I had an existing reservation. Below is the automated message I received.

"Please hold while your call is being connected. Due to extremely high call volume your call cannot be forwarded. Your business is important to us, please try calling us again later or visit us at www.enterprise.com to inquire about rates and availability or to complete a reservation. Thank you for calling Enterprise Rent-a-Car, goodbye."

Then the message ends and hangs up on me. This occurred 3 times in a row. Outraged was how I felt. Let me tell you why.

1. If a company is so busy that it cannot route the calls or even put the calls in queue, then they need to add call center labor and technology capacity; otherwise they are losing business.
2. Do not tell me that my call is important to you, not hire enough people to handle peak call volume, then hang up on me. It screams hypocrisy and dishonesty!
3. I have choices in car rental companies. They are basically a commodity business to me. Avis, Dollar, Budget, National, etc. are all the same, give or take a few dollars between them per car per day. With this, the only way to make a substantial difference is through customer service. Being better, easier to work with, communicative, and just nicer than the competition. Enterprise, in this instance, has moved the other direction, isolating me from the exact customer contact that could make them valuable to me.
4. A message that says "Hey folks, thanks for calling. We are so very busy and can't take your call. If you call back on Wed. it will be easier to get through. Additionally, we are cutting back on total costs and would rather you go to the web site and make your reservation so we can shut down this expensive call center operation. If you agree to this, we promise to hold down our prices for a few months" would be more honest. It may not attract my business, but it would not make me run away as fast as I could and tell everyone else to run away as well.
5. I suspect that the head of the Enterprise call centers have requested more staff, better technology, more people and systems to offer better service more than once. I suspect each of these requests have been ignored in the hope of saving money for the company. Saving money is grand and all, but I wonder if they know that such actions have chased away my revenue from their company? 

Thank You for Choosing Us

Patricia Jackson M.B.A. - Director of Customer Service, Cuyahoga Community College, Patricia.Jackson@tri-c.edu

As the director of customer service at Cuyahoga Community College, one of Ohio’s largest and oldest community colleges, I am often struck that some companies have not realized that consumers have choices on where to spend money.  As a former student who got her start at the Cuyahoga Community College, I was familiar with how the institution worked when I began work here. I can also state that when I was a student, service was not largely on my mind.  Getting my education was the focus.  When I look back I realize that people generally do not have a high expectation for service from most public sector organizations, including colleges.

The days when we are content settling for mediocre service are quickly coming to an end.  We are taking a stand and saying that we expect more, we will pay for more and most of all we have choices.

My current role as Director of Customer Service at Cuyahoga Community College forces the realization that in order to grow as an organization and stay competitive we must offer our customers excellent service beyond expectations.  We must communicate in such a manner that shows we value their business; we are glad they choose our college and that we look forward to a relationship based on loyalty.  To some, it may seem that we are promising the undeliverable.  To us, we are challenged to make a commitment to our public and back it up by our actions.

Since I have started with the college, I have tried to use my previous call center experience to make positive changes within our organization.  I realized that customers want to feel appreciated by the companies where they choose to do business. Shortly after I started with the college I asked “How do we dazzle our customers with service?  What can we provide in addition to affordability, accessibility and a quality education that makes people want to attend our school?” Even though it was clear that the college offered much there was still an opportunity to do more.  So, I started “welcome calls.” At the beginning of each semester all new students receive a call from our college simply welcoming them to the college.  There are no strings attached to the call. We are not asking them for anything. It is just our way of letting students know that we appreciate their business. This is our way of dazzling them while creating loyal customers and students through our actions.  It is our way of saying, “Thank You for Choosing Us!”


What I am Watching

As part of watching the Academy Awards movies since the inception of the award, I have made it to 1938 and the movie You Can't Take it With You.

This movie contrasts big business moguls with that of eccentric people who have escaped the drudgery of mundane corporate work and instead focus on what they want to do following their heart. The corporate image is that of a banker in New York whose family has headed this company for generations. The free as-a-bird happiness counterstory is also headed by a male figure who used to be a corporate mogul and then one day had a revelation that if he were to die that day, no one would come to his funeral, he had no friends, and all of the money he was making he could not take with him after he died (thus the name of the story "You Can't Take it With You."

True to old and current Hollywood style, there is a love affair. The son of the banking mogul, played by a dashingly young James (Jimmy) Stewart, has fallen in love with his secretary, who is the granddaughter of the eccentric "do as your heart pleases" man. The two lovers' contrasting lives come into conflict at various times in the story.

What makes this movie worth watching is the odd-ball stuff going on in the story at the eccentric man's house. There is another granddaughter who wishes to dance, so she dances around the house all day. There is a former University of Alabama band member who now plays the xylophone in the house when he is not practicing his printing. Two other men make fireworks in the basement, which lead to an interesting set of circumstances.

Even if the story seemed to sell the story of "rich people are miserable, aren't you glad you are not rich?" during the Great Depression in 1938, the oddball characters and events, as well as the solid acting, make the movie a pleasure to watch. The eccentric grandfather is played by Lionel Barrymore. If you are not familiar with the name, I am sure you are familiar with his granddaughter, Drew Barrymore.

If you are interested in renting this movie, the link to the left takes you to the site for this movie on Netflix.

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Copyright 2007 National Association of Call Centers