My Favorite Excuse as a Member Service Representative
By Michael Wilson, Co-Founder & CEO, Cue
A few weeks ago, I posted a poll on LinkedIn which, in disguise, was just a list of a few of my favorite excuses member service representatives (MSR) use when they can’t figure out what to do next while trying to resolve a member’s issue. You probably knew what I was doing but thank you for letting me have my fun.
My favorite excuse is “my system is running slow.” It’s brilliant. That buys some time to figure out what they need to do next and get the pressure off themselves by blaming their technology. I know you know what I’m talking about because you smile when I say one of my goals is to eliminate that excuse.
Think about it. One of the primary reasons why MSRs use excuses like "my system is running slow" is because they are under pressure to resolve member issues quickly while simultaneously navigating multiple systems and applications while showing compassion to the person on the other end of the phone.
MSR Performance vs. Contact Center Management
How have so many contact centers gotten into a situation that makes it necessary for MSRs to make time buying excuses on the phone? We’re of the opinion that, due to no fault of their own, contact centers are blending two completely different things: MSR performance and contact center management.
What is the difference and why should you care?
Contact center management is the focus on optimizing the contact center to drive efficiency in supporting the contact. How do you lower costs without sacrificing member perception of the experience? How do you lower average hold time (AHT)? How do you lower call backs? Etc.
MSR performance is the focus on empowering the MSRs to deliver a better experience, improve their confidence and make their job easier. Things like training, streamlining workflows, providing tools to help them during the call, etc.
Why it matters – well, a lot of the time the improvements to efficiency come at the expense of simplicity. We spoke to one contact center that had six major initiatives scheduled for 2023 – all of which were upgrades to current systems. They wanted to replace the CRM, replace the chat software, combine the external and internal FAQs, and more. Now, put yourself in the MSR's shoes.
Once one change is made, even the experienced MSRs are going to be stressed out of their minds having to learn the new system and process while maintaining their AHT and first call resolution numbers. Now try six new systems! Sounds stressful.
Stress is a negative job inducement – it shows up in the caliber of the pool, the training/onboarding/nesting timeframes, the morale, the metrics, the turnover rates, the member scores, etc.
Stress for an MSR is usually dealing with irate members or constant rejections – that is part of the job.
But stress can also come from having to split your focus on the member while trying to navigate a wonky and heavy workflow. Or telling the member your system is running slow as you frantically type a bunch of information or scroll through tons of fields and screens trying to find the right information or wait for your supervisor to message you back with the answer. Maybe you gave the wrong answer because you couldn’t find the right answer or missed a section which was out-of-compliance, and you must go through additional mandatory training sessions during your calls.
The good news is there’s a better way. The Cue platform that, among other things, is combatting my go-to excuse when I was an MSR.
Connect with Cue to learn more.
Cue is your virtual overlay, making call centers more productive, empowering agents with confidence, and leaving members more satisfied. By bridging the gap between agents and the information they need to be of service, Cue helps to simplify the call center process and implement systems that improve your agent and member experience.