Customer Service Interactions That Improve Customer Satisfaction

Client – IBM, the world’s largest information technology company

Strategic Goals

Improve customer service when users call 800#s for technical assistance.

  • Reduce customer complaints
  • Improve response time to email and phone calls regarding inquires and problems

Communication Challenges

  • Duplication of research to answer technical questions because of unclear internal communication between the various technical levels of support
  • Fewer supervisors to “turn problems over to” when first-line responders could not handle the call
  • Lack of follow-up to “close the loop” when customer issues were escalated from first-level responders to more-technical specialists
  • Excessive time required by service agents receiving calls to understand the customer issue and communicate solutions


Booher’s solution included:

  • Interviewing managers at call centers to determine specific customer issues and to identify skill gaps
  • Observing and recording service agents as they respond to customer calls
  • Analyzing the job skills necessary for various levels of support
  • Reviewing and analyzing written customer complaints to identify recurring issues
  • Facilitating e-Service classes
  • Certifying internal IBM trainers to deliver the training
  • Developing a 24-hour custom training course and job-aids to equip service agents to

  • Write clear emails to communicate technical information to customers, to peers, and to their own management
  • Apologize and resolve customer problems without involving a supervisor
  • Handle phone calls quickly and effectively
  • Build rapport in face-to-face interactions when issues required a technical specialist to visit a client site


Both written and oral customer complaints dropped dramatically within the month and customer satisfaction survey scores rose sharply. Response time improved as agents took responsibility for follow-through when escalating customer issues to the next level of support.

Stress among service agents also decreased as agents learned to use specific techniques. As a result, the company began to have waiting lists for the training.

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