Strive for the Call-Handling Quality to Be Chosen by Customers.
Tokio Marine Group’s “Call-Handling Contest” Initiative
- Our “Call-Handling Contest” for our call centers is held once a year
- Tokio Marine Group provides a call center at each of our companies to receive calls when customers have an inquiry about our products or services or have a problem, such as when they need to contact us about procedure or an accident. With a total of more than 4,000 people in the group companies, we work on our tasks everyday, needless to say when customers are in need of our assistance, with a sense of purpose to deliver security to our customers. Because call center work has the special characteristic of interacting with customers over the phone, not face-to-face, it demands communication skills of an even higher quality. That’s why we have our “Call-Handling Contest” every year, with the goal of mutual improvement at all call centers. This time was the seventh contest and a total of 17 locations out of our nationwide call centers participated in it. The contest has continued evolving as an event that mobilizes more than 200 people from inside and outside the company each time, and the group join together to improve call-handling skills.
- Strive for call handling that is considerate of the feelings of customers and touches their hearts
- In the contest, participants work in pairs, with one in an operator role and the other in a customer role, and give performance of their call-handling operation in three minutes. The theme for this year’s competition was “Implementing Imaginative Call Handling Practices As Only Humans Can Do.” In these days, with digital progress, such as of AI, and the diversification of communication tools moving forward, call handling practices that focus on customers’ backgrounds and circumstances, and are considerate of their feelings, which we can provide only because we’re humans, will become even more important. We therefore chose the theme for the contest to test call-handling skills that can touch customers’ hearts and gain their understanding and approval through us doing our utmost, like by sympathizing with customers’ feelings and by proposing alternative solutions even when customers’ expectations cannot be met.
So as not to cause unfairness for any of the companies whose daily call-handling work varies, the theme was established with the setting of a fictional beverage manufacturer. Each company accumulated research on call handling that would be considerate of customers and touch their hearts, and attended the performance.
- Thinking about the call’s background and the customer’s circumstances
- A fierce competition unfolded at the performance in an atmosphere inside the venue that was rife with tension. Participants showed each other their call handling performances that touch the callers’ hearts while figuring things out for each scenario, in a way such as being considerate of customers’ circumstances and feelings to serve them, occasionally based on their own experience, with the attitude to solve problems together, using a question like “I’ve received the long-awaited phone call, so I’d like to be able to help, but what kind of situation is it going to be?”
- To make use of the awareness from the contest in everyday work
- As a result of the judges’ impartial evaluation from various points of view, including impression, basic handling, communication, and ability to provide information and service on the phone, E.design Insurance’s Sendai Customer Support Center won the first prize at the seventh contest. The winners commented, “While working towards the contest, we were made aware once again of how our wording and the expression in our voice come across to customers. We would like to continue listening to customers’ voices more intently than ever and working on to be able to handle calls in a way that is considerate of their feelings. ”
As a general comment, the judges said, “‘Call handling as only humans can do’ means putting imagination to work to face customers earnestly and handling calls in a way that is appropriate to each customer. To do that, it’s important to draw out customers’ true intentions while having sufficient talk with them. We assessed whether or not participants were doing that in this contest. ”
Contest participants and members working at their centers also shared impressions such as: “I was aware of various things through experiencing other call centers’ call handling,” and, “The series of preparations for attending the contest was a good opportunity to reconsider objectively what good call handling is and my own everyday work.” It was a contest where many things were learned that can be put to use in daily business operations.
- Enhancing the quality of the whole group through mutual improvement
- The sequential process to take on the challenge of this call-handling contest has led not only led to improvement in call-handling quality and also to a sense of unity for the organization to work together as one. In addition, once a year, nationwide call centers gather together in one place, demonstrating their daily accomplishments and praising each other’s tireless efforts. Thus, the contest provides opportunities to further deepen exchanges between call centers and foster a climate to strive for mutual improvement.
In such a way, Tokio Marine Group’s call centers value call handling that is considerate of customers and is only provided by humans, while keeping mutual improvement among members, thus striving to be a “Good Company”, which will continue to be chosen by customers.