Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the consequences of multitasking, part of Innovative Customer Service Techniques.
- Nearly every customer service job involves some degree of multitasking. This video explores how multitasking can easily cause poor customer service. Let's start with a brief demonstration of what happens when we try to multitask. I'm going to show you a list of colors on the screen. When they appear, I'd like you to read them out loud. Now, I'm going to put up a new list of colors. Once again, I'd like you to read the names of the colors out loud.
You may have noticed just a little twinge in your brain on that one. That was your brain sending you a signal that said, "Hey, the word green isn't green. "These colors are all wrong." We're going to do one more round. This time, I want you to ignore the word and say out loud the name of the color the word is printed in. Ready? Okay, I bet that last one was a lot harder than the first two. For most of us, we have to simultaneously block out the printed word and consciously identify the color the word is printed in.
The problem is we only have the ability to focus our conscious attention on one thing at a time. When we try to multitask, we end up going slower, making more errors, or both. Let's look at a customer service example. In this scene, from the Customer Service Fundamentals Course, see what happens when a customer service agent tries to focus on more than one thing at a time. - Hello, this is customer service, how may I help you? Uh-huh, yes.
Thank you. I'm sorry, I didn't catch that, what'd you say? - The customer service rep was trying to multitask, but the result was she didn't give the customer her full attention. Unfortunately, many of our work environments are full of multitasking opportunities. You might have multiple customers asking for your attention. You might be distracted by co-workers while you're trying to serve a customer. Even your computer might be causing problems. A recent study by ICMI found that the average contact center agent has to navigate through seven different software programs, just to serve their customers.
How do we avoid all this multitasking? It's not easy, but here are two techniques you can try: try to reduce the amount of distractions that might cause you to multitask. Don't keep extra windows open on your computer. Turn off unnecessary alerts. Have your co-workers watch this video, then make an agreement to avoid distracting each other. Of course, we can't eliminate all distractions, so here's another tactic that you can try. Consciously focus your attention on the customer you are serving. This may seem like common sense, but our brains are hardwired to respond to distractions.
Did you see that flash? It triggered an instinctive reaction to stop watching me, and look at the flash. That's the part we can't control, but what we can do is make a conscious effort to refocus our attention, rather than continue to be consumed by distractions. Avoiding multitasking is a constant challenge, but if you reduce distractions, focus your attention, and maintain your awareness, you can find ways to overcome this obstacle, and serve your customers at a higher level.
- Identifying the most important customer need
- Making wait time more bearable
- Improving your power of observation
- Avoiding directed attention fatigue
- Increasing teamwork