“You can’t have everything: Where would you put it?” – Steven Wright. We truly can’t have it all: There are always choices to be made and trade-offs to be considered. This is rarely more obvious than in the area of choosing a service provider for our business needs. It is nearly always that case that we must choose TWO of the following THREE options: Good, Cheap and Fast.
It is difficult to rise above the reality of this constraint: We will rarely receive all three. To illustrate the principle, let’s consider your choices for a workday lunch:
- If you prefer “Good” and “Fast”, you’ll be quite happy with the Salad Bar at a place like Whole Foods Market. The food is of extraordinary quality and one can get in, load up and get out in a minute or two. That said, anyone who has experienced “Salad Scale Sticker Shock” knows that this option is decidedly NOT cheap.
- If you prefer “Fast” and “Cheap”, well that’s easy – just hit the drive-thru for a burger and fries. For a few bucks, you’ll have your paper sack in your lap in minutes – But those hamburger buns are not exactly Whole Grain, are they?
- So, then, what if you prefer “Good” and “Cheap”? Well, you’re going to have to spend some time to get THAT done. You’ll have to shop carefully for quality ingredients – when they go on sale – at the grocery store, and then you’ll have take the time to pack a sack lunch for yourself.
And so you see, you get TWO, not THREE. Now let me extend the analogy to customer service organizations. At your contact center, what type of service are you aiming to offer? Typically, the goal is to reduce “average handle time” (AHT), right? That’s “FAST”. OK, you’ve picked one. Next, most centers are also looking to reduce “cost per contact”, right? That’s “CHEAP”. OK, there’s your two. But WAIT: Many centers are also measuring “customer satisfaction” (CSAT). That just may be a quality metric? Is that “GOOD” too?
So how CAN you have all three? Are you ready for my “constraint-buster”?. Here is the secret weapon: KINDNESS
Even if your contact center is required to optimize for “FAST” and “CHEAP”, you can still add goodness by insisting on kindness. Kindness costs you NOTHING and buys you EVERYTHING! So the next time you hire a Customer Service Representative, make sure they are inclined toward kindness. And the next time you train your existing team, emphasize the power of kindness. A kind word doesn’t take longer than a rude word nor does it cost more. Kindness simply adds goodness to an experience that cries out for more of it.