Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ineffective communication causes misunderstanding.

Yesterday early morning, Jennifer, one of my client called. She wanted to make sure I am still alive and are still selling life insurance. According to her, her husband Mr Yim received one of our company telemarketing call, informing him that I had expired. The word... 'expired' could either mean I am dead or my contract with my principle company has expired. I was shocked to hear her news and she felt so relieve to know I am still around. I could not believe, my company would say such uneventful and meaningless statement. I was very upset and without ado, I immediately confronted the relevant parties in the office.

All our telemarketing calls are recorded whenever a telephone call is made. Upon checking and verifying, this was what happened and transpired. The telemarketing teams were trying to promote some new products for our existing clients. Randomly they picked names and called our clients. As most of the telemarketers are young and inexperienced, they spoke with scripts pre-written without the natural flow of words.

One part of the script lines were written as... "We are calling you sir, because the agency promotional month had expired.....". Instead the telemarketer said..."We are calling you sir, because the promotional agent had expired...". Her voice lacked confidence, not clear and the flow was uneven. She made mistakes without realizing herself. There is a lot of difference between "agency promotional month had expired" and "promotional agent had expired". She had missed out the word, month and twisted those few words accordingly.

From the recording, they could hear and listen to their own mistakes. Although it might seem a simple error but the poor communication caused ill feeling, misunderstanding or miss interpretation, anger and frustration. If unaware and not corrected, in the long run, it might lead to more damages to all parties concerned.

I am glad those whom I had spoken to like, Yen Ling, Rachel Ong and Ann Lim from the marketing team, took the initiative to investigate the above matter seriously. I could be upset for a short while on this error of communication, but certainly I would not blame them for this unintentional mistake because no body is perfect in this world, moreso they are still young and are inexperienced in work. Especially speaking on phone to a stranger. It takes a lot of training and assistance before one can master the confidence. In order to help my colleagues, I offer myself willingly to a half day talk on effective communication with them.

This is the letter written by Rachel to her boss Ann Lim....
Dear Ann,
Just spoken to Mr. Robert Foo, I have apologised to him and Mr Foo shared some of his findings and experiences for our better improvement. Meanwhile, I have called Mr. Yim and apologised on this matter also. Mr. Foo shared some of his tips which can help to get better attention from customers over the phone. We will brief all TMR again on how important it is to speak to customers with proper language and the meaning of the words. We need to ensure our TMR maintain their professionalism. If possible, I suggest that we can invite Mr. Robert Foo to come over our call centre again for his sharing. I found his sharing is quite useful.
Thanks & Regards, Rachael Ong

Ann Lim had invited me to talk with her staffs on the 9th January 2009. Yes! Shine or rain I will be there because effective speaking and communication is important in life.

Specially for the marketing team - "Your ability to communicate is an important tool in your pursuit of your goals, whether it is with your family, your co-workers or your clients and customers." - Les Brown


Anonymous said...

Hi Robert,

Communication is a skill that can be sharpen and comes in many new Handphones, emails, sms, body language, letters, reports etc...
We need to understand these before even using or making action (decision) with it.
The understanding comes with patience and asking when in doubt.
Sad to know communication does not come with understanding all the time. Your story is another fact of life which makes us wiser on how to approach future situations alike.Thanks for sharing.

Red Lavender

Robert Foo said...

Hi RL..

Your extra tips on this comment is most appreciated. Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

good start

Anonymous said...