Stop karate chopping your customers

Stop karate chopping your customers

Why you should stop karate chopping your customers

There are some odd approaches to achieving ‘productivity’ in the Contact Centre industry. 

One of my least favourites is what I call ‘Karate Chopping’ the Customer.

Here’s what it sounds like –

Good morning this is Andrew, how may I help you?

Hi Andrew, Matthew here.

Can I ask how to apply for the scholarship?

Sure Matthew.

It’s all on the website.

Go to and you’ll find everything there.

Oooh ah – punch – go away – whack!

Oh – ok. Bye.


Short, sweet – unhelpful.

Falling down stairs

It’s Karate Chopping when you push someone to self-service without offering to help first

Can you imagine you’re sunning at the local swimming pool and you see someone struggling to stay afloat in the deep end?


Look! (you shout) Just grab that orange floaty thing a few meters from you and you’ll be fine!


Sure – we had planned the digital journey such that the Customer would have utilised the website.

After all, the concept of opti-channel refers to the best channel for a particular Customer performing a particular task.

But when we offer multiple channels, we make a promise to honour our Customer regardless of which channel (or channels) they decide to use.

When I work with students I explain it this way –

“When your Customer wakes up in the morning they have a choice – a choice in how they interact with you.

Lying in bed yawning

They could call, email, text, or drop in on your Service Centre as they’ll be in town anyway.

At a big picture level, we have to honour them and help get the job done.”

Astute journey mapping experts will recognise that in the case of self-service (website, online FAQs and the like), some ratio of the voice calls received in the Centre will have placed by Customers after trying self-service first – and where the self-service option failed to deliver the desired information (or might have required too much effort to find).

So to be Karate Chopped on a voice call – right back to the self-service channel that had failed in the first place – is clearly not an award-winning strategy.

The danger of measuring service through compliance measures

We had been working with a large institution on their Mystery Shopper program. 

To nominally allow for trending period over period (in this case year) – compliance standards for measurement had not been refreshed or updated for years.

So – when tabulations were done, the scores were (as expected) good.

All the greetings, closings and using Customer names ‘two times’ needed to generate the desired high scores for the program.

But during analysis of the conversations, we had picked up on an extensive use of the Karate Chopping approach. 

Unfortunately, that finding was considered incidental at best (rather than the CX gem it really was).

If this had been a real Customer experience-based program, the measurements would have been different – and learnings around the use of Karate Chopping would have been embraced and managed differently.

As I say now – if your Mystery Shopper program delivers the results you had hoped for or expected you are probably doing it wrong.

Dig deeper

A nicer way to promote self-service

How about a promotion of self-service options like this?

Good morning this is Andrew, how may I help you?

Hello Andrew, Matthew here.

Can I ask how to apply for a scholarship?

Sure Matthew. Happy to help with that!

(A bit of to and fro to address Matthew’s needs)

Ok Matthew – had you viewed our website before? 

Ah ok – no worries – let me show you where, in future, you can easily reference what we’ve been talking about on this call.

Of course, if the website does not provide an easy reference – this becomes business intelligence that can be aggregated and funnelled to the CX Team for review and enhancement of that touchpoint.

Thank you for reading (and please – no more Karate Chopping!),

Recommended further reading: Caution when using Chatbots for Customer Service

Daniel Ord is a regular presenter in Australia running his popular CX and Contact Centre Management training courses. See what’s coming up on CX Skills.

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About Daniel Ord 18 Articles

Founder and Director of OmniTouch International, Dan is engaged by global, regional and country super brands to help build or expand competencies around their Contact Centres, Customer Service delivery and Customer Experience know-how.

Daniel is also one of just 15 CXPA Recognised Training Providers in the world for the delivery of CX management training as well as a global Contact Centre expert.

Born in the USA and now based in Germany, over the past 20 years, Dan has engaged with more than 1,500 organisations, across 40 countries and with more than 50,000 participants in workshops & speaking engagements.

Daniel provides a range of training courses in Australia and across Asia Pacific - Search CX Skills to find his upcoming courses.

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