I’m fascinated with call centers. This started when I was in my 20s, running a software call center. I was in marketing, but I saw that there was no one really running the call center. So I told the CEO I could run the call center. I promised him I could decrease customer service costs 20% in three months. I handed him a list of ten ways I thought I could decrease costs.
I got that list from a book in Barnes and Noble about how to manage more effectively. And when he said yes to my plan, I started reading all the other books in the management section. And then I read about call centers.
I’m not alone in my fascination. Generation Y loves to talk about customer service because it has such a huge impact on our daily lives.
A lot of customer service discussion results from our fascination with random good deeds. This story about Southwest Airlines helping a mom in crisis went viral because we love a good customer service story. Another great story about customer service on Southwest is when a flight attendant joined a cellist for some mid-flight, beat box entertainment.
The best call centers are science labs about human behavior, so I never really stopped reading about them. For example, Global Response is a call center that describes their business as creating experiences that reinforce the brand in the mind of the customer. I like this description because it’s true of all conversations we have with people—we want the conversation to reinforce what they think of us.
Call center technology can make inferences about who you are as you start speaking, from your tone, tempo, keywords, grammar, and syntax. All those qualities feed into an algorithm that routes you to the types of person you’d most want to talk with.
The reason I was able to make such a big impact managing the call center is that unhappy customers are very expensive. The rule is happy customers tell 3 people and unhappy customers tell 3,000.
I think this is true of everything, really. People who hate something cannot shut up about it. People who are happy just move along in life being their happy self with little need to shout about it. (This is why I’m certain that the more chirpy someone’s Facebook feed is, the more of a train wreck their life is.)
I wish there were as much data about homeschooling satisfaction as there is about customer satisfaction. I feel like we are very happy homeschooling. I post pictures of family happiness but I wish I had some data to show you. I wish I could make a plan to increase homeschooling efficiency like I could make that plan for the call center. I do think, though, that like call center customers, the unhappy homeschoolers are more vocal than happy ones.
I don’t have evidence that most homeschooling families are happy, but I do know that the number of homeschoolers I read about who quit homeschooling is low. So I tell myself that statistically, it’s likely that most homeschoolers are happy. And that makes me more confident in my belief that homeschooling is making my family happy as well.