Telecom New Zealand likes Whole Brain Thinking

This just in from TV New Zealand

Some of New Zealand’s biggest companies are using psychological techniques to improve their call centre services. (Note: The HBDI is actually based on brain physiology – not psychology)

They can profile a caller’s thinking within the first 20 seconds of their call, said Wayne Goodley this morning on TVNZ’s business show. The techniques are an extension of the well-established “left and right brain thinking” concept.

Telecom has taken on profiling methods to improve call centres’ service and as a result won the Hermann International Learning Award. The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) was developed by Ned Herrmann when he worked at General Electric.

Goodley said Herrmann created the instrument when he noticed that the “learning taking place wasn’t coping with all the events that people had to contending with”. To enhance learning, Herrmann decided to profile the thinking of his staff. “This is a result of nature, your mum and dad, nurturing, your schooling and the free choice you exercise as an adult human being,” Goodley told AMP Business.

The technique is now being adapted to enhance services within call centres. Staff members fielding calls can “clue spot” the thinking of the caller and categorise them into “red” and “blue” thinkers. Goodley says if a person calls and says “look, I’m in trouble can you help me”, the person is a “red thinker”. According to the HBDI a red thinker’s thought processes are based around people, feelings and values. But if the person says “I need to address the situation with my broadband – I’m paying too much”, they are a “blue thinker”, says Goodley.
A blue thinker naturally prefers dealing with facts and figures and is more logical and analytical. Staff can then respond in a way best suited to the caller’s thinking preference.

According to Goodley, in the first period of using the HBDI, duplicate calls can be reduced by over 50%. Most big companies use it, says Goodley. He says “97% of the top 100 Fortune 500 companies use it”. In New Zealand, Fonterra, Air New Zealand and Sanitarium use the methodology.