I had an issue with one of my home service providers and I called their Customer Service line for help. This is a National company with a central call center. I waited 49 minutes on hold before hanging up. No messaging on hold. Just music. No options for a callback, leave a message, or any other option that might have made me feel less frustrated.
I called the corporate office number that I found on Google, since it was not listed on the company Web site (why are they hiding?) and followed the IVR instruction to press “0” for the Operator to get some direction. Each time I pressed “0” the system hung up on me. I tried 3 times. As a consultant who works to fix broken Customer Service systems and processes like this, I was as intrigued as I was frustrated.
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Chat is offered on the Web site when logging into your account so I gave that a try. It took almost 2 minutes for the Chat session to boot up and actually have a representative say “hello.” This was after I completed a 5 question Chat Start Box. Once online, I quickly asked my question and, you might have guessed, I was told to call Customer Service. Even after explaining the long hold, my simple need for help, the only option offered by the Chat agent was to call CS. Goodbye CSAT and NPS!
Next stop was going into Private Detective mode and looking up corporate executives online, including the President of the Division, then calling back the corporate number, getting to the corporate phone directory and using names to connect to their voice mail and leaving a messages for two of them. I received a call back by a Regional Director a little over an hour after leaving a message for the President.
I’m sure most of you reading this have gone through similar experiences. It is simply unacceptable and a sure indicator of management issues, lack of planning, improper use of technology, and a host of other issues that come from a weak effort to manage customers, the lifeblood of every company.
Unfortunately, these types of issues are very common no matter how successful or large a company may be. Customer retention is art and science. For such flagrant breakdowns to be happening in 2019 with all we know about how to serve customers, all the technology tools we have at our disposal, and all the talk of Customer Experience, is surprising to say the least.
How can company leaders can find issues like these before customers have to suffer through them? Use the company’s Customer Contact channels every day.
Call your Customer Service line and use your Chat/Text/Email and even snail mail functions regularly. Look at everything from a Customer’s point of view. Watch for speed of response; length of hold-time; is the IVR helpful? How knowledgeable are the representatives who answer; how hard it is to use each function? Is your Web site helpful or complicated? Can customers easily reach you if they aren’t ultimately satisfied? So many Sr. Leaders operate as if the last thing they want to do is hear from an unhappy customer. When that should be first on your list every day.
Well, you say, “Mike, I pay my Management team well to do all of this work. What’s the point of having a staff if I have to do it?” I understand your point, but I would ask you how much better would your management team do if they knew you might be calling, texting, chatting and contacting their departments each day?
Unless you are the only company in the world that provides your product or service and you don’t have to worry about losing paying customers, you must get involved on a micro-level. And, you should be preaching and advocating for this level of involvement and ownership to your entire staff. Trust your management team, but verify firsthand that your Customer Service is absolutely the best it can be every day.
At your service,