Monday, July 20, 2009

What would you do?

………when someone asks you a query?

This post is an after-effect of my interactions with my current cellular network provider. All I wanted to do was get a cell number transferred from my previous employer to my name. The only problem in this case, is that the previous Company I worked for, no longer exists (they got acquired sometime back). And somehow forgot to transfer the cell-number back to my name. So I either transfer it to my name or stand to lose a number I’ve been using for the last eight years! I would rather choose the former option, given that far too many people need to be informed if I change the number. This option saves a lot of inconvenience too. Ok, that’s the context.

Now, the reps at the counter were clueless on the process to transfer the number to my name, under the given situation. They seemed lost. So, they just told me: “We wouldn’t be able to transfer the number to your name.” What?!? They said that because they did not know what to do!!! However, my perseverance eventually paid off! After interactions with over fifteen different people, one manager knew about the process to get the job done!! Apparently a company wide email was circulated and no one but this manager had paid attention to it. So the others ended up clueless…and they continued to work that way.

Yes, there’s a possibility that it could have been a case of bad/non-existing organizational training on processes. But could the reps have done a better job? Off course they could have. Here’s how & I did explain it to a senior manager who strongly agreed:

Scenario #1: Someone asks you a query. You know the answer to that. You tell them what is to be done. Case closed. Customer’s happy with the resolution. You get a good service rating.

Scenario #2: You have no clue on what is to be done? What next? Simple. You either tell the customer you’ll check and get back with a resolution within a certain timeframe (and you should get back). Or pick the phone and call your lead or manager and get to know the process. If they don’t know, call another manager. Or raise an internal helpdesk ticket. Or send a mail to your resolutions department. Sounds simple right? But somehow none of these options got executed. You have an angry customer at the counter. And your service rating plummeted.

This is a classic situation that happens so very frequently in HR. There are far too many processes and policies to remember right away. Or there’s no process in place at all. But what are we doing about those requests? Many would ignore it, thinking it will get routed to another HR rep. The chain continues, until one of them takes the effort to find out and reply to the query. The rep that gave the reply definitely deserves a pat on the back, for going beyond his scope of work to get the job done. The others have fallen way behind on the learning curve.

You agree?