Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post that talked about Customer Service. It is now time to cover this once more – Customer service revisited.
In the first article, I asked the simple question, should getting good customer service be a battle?
The obvious answer, is “No, it should not be a battle”. I whole heartedly agree with such an answer.
Some companies have it right but it goes without saying that many companies get it wrong.
I like to think that I am fair and balanced when it comes to recognising and commenting and such things.
In the last week, I have witnessed the rather excellent, and the downright ugly. I will discuss both.
It should be noted, that both these interactions with customer services took place over the increasingly popular online chat. I actually don’t mind these as they do offer convenience. Sure, you don’t get the human interaction, the body language or the tome of voice, but it can be rather convenient
I would first like to discuss the good.
The company concerned is an internet service provider. In-fact, they host some of my web sites.
I have had cause to contact them twice in the last week. In the first instance I raised a case online as I had some queries which were not particularly urgent. The second contact was via the online chat as I was having technical difficulties that I needed help on.
In both instances, I got very prompt responses. The raised case was answered in about 15 minutes. Via online chat the technician was instantly available and stayed with me until the problem was resolved. I could absolutely ask for nothing more.
In both cases the representatives were friendly, courteous, helpful and went over an above to help out. Fantastic.
The bad and the ugly
The UK’s mobile telephone companies are not known for their high quality customer service. Researching on the internet it is usually scored low. That may be unfair in some cases, however it does tally with most experiences that I have had.
The issue I encountered was one of a service that I had taken out was not up to the expectations that had been set, rightly or wrongly in my mind by their representatives.
When I contacted them regarding the subject, I was instantly made aware that this was not going to be a good experience and indeed it wasn’t, or should I say still isn’t!
The attitude of the representative(s) was instantly aggressive. Immediately, they were checking logs of conversation’s and chats that had happened. This instantly tells me that they are not interested in helping, nor are they interested in listening. All they were bothered about was protecting themselves and their interests. This is know as an ‘Inside out’ company. I.e. one that exists to serve its own purposes not to serve the customers.
The conversation continued and because they found no log of the conversation that set my expectations they effectively accused me of lying! Whilst they never used the words, the insinuation was there.
However, I persisted, never losing my calm or being abusive, I just wanted them to take ownership of the issue. The first agent hung up on me. Without delay, I instantly reconnected and the second agent hung up on me after telling me I needed to phone another department in the morning.
It was only on my 3rd attempt that I got a manager who did take a level of ownership and logged the complaint.
Two very very different experiences.
What causes me much puzzlement is why. Why would a company be aggressive and defensive and the other extremely helpful.
I really wish I knew the answer to that question.
A key differentiator
I often shop and give business to those companies that excel at customer service. It is important to me. So very important. I guess I just want an easy life!
Who would you choose?
So which company will I recommend? Which company would I actively tell people to avoid?
I think the answer to that question is obvious. Not only that, but I now want to quit the company with poor service. So not only will I warn people against them, they will be losing my business.
Word of mouth recommendation is one of the most powerful promoters or detractors. For those that get the service right it is a massively positive effect. The converse is unfortunately true.
It comes from the top
I do not blame the staff on the front line, the execs and so called customer service experts that set the standards, process and procedures are to blame. I am sure those people working for the bad company would help me if they could.
To all my listeners, I would repeat what I said earlier in the year. Stand up for yourself. Do not be wronged or tolerate poor service. Equally, celebrate the good.
Vote with your money and your opinion.
Stand up for good
Perhaps if more people take a stand against the poor service, those companies will be hit where it hurts – in their wallet and will do something about it.
It should not be a battle. Customer service should be easy. Seamless. Those companies are out there. Please support them.
Thank you for reading ‘Customer Service Revisited’.
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