I recently had a small issue with Verizon that I wasn’t able to resolve on the web site. Not a big deal. But when clicked on ‘Contact Us’ and then ‘By Phone’, instead of giving me the phone number, I was met with a pop-up window that said: “We’re sorry…we are not able to process your request.” Great, if you are going to hide the number you need to cough it up when we follow the clicking path to get it! Is this a new call avoidance tactic that I missed? Now my small problem is bigger. Understandably miffed, I relayed this story to a co-worker who had just called Verizon a week prior and had a completely different experience. She said she got right through to a knowledgeable call center agent and after the billing issues were resolved was transferred to another live agent in service to get the phone line checked. She even said how surprised she was that a company so big had such good customer service, while I on the other hand, couldn’t even locate a number to call. Do you...
Jodie MongerCustomer Relationship Metrics
0 comments 1,214 readsPosted on 2011-08-22
0 comments 1,880 readsPosted on 2011-08-15
How many of you remember getting a gold star from your teacher for good work or good behavior? I remember thinking that the tiny little symbol filled me with a sense of pride for a job well done. What we find over and over again in our External Quality Monitoring programs is that call center agents want to feel empowered and they thrive on performance recognition. Just like those gold stars from our younger years, when call center agents are held accountable for resolving customer complaints quickly and efficiently, and they are provided the tools to improve their performance, it’s not hard to see the link between satisfied agents and quality customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
“I recently called about a phone connectivity issue I was having at my house. I was transferred directly to the right person and my issue was resolved...
0 comments 1,393 readsPosted on 2011-08-08
I recently ordered two wall hangings for my child’s room and they showed up damaged. I was undecided about the picture situation, but since I bought them so cheaply on clearance ($5!) I decided against the hassle to return them. The store’s customer service rep told me I would have to the store in person, bring a driver’s license and I couldn’t get my money back, only store credit. So I tossed my damaged pictures in the trash because ultimately I felt my time was more valuable in the end. This experience will not affect future purchases from this store. They had a return policy which they were enforcing which I was aware of (albeit in the fine print on their web site). I chose to forgo the policy. It had little to do with how I was treated on the phone by their customer service agent, she was perfectly nice. My decision had more to do with how I valued the purchase and what I was willing to go through to make it right. Does your company weigh the risk versus reward for...
0 comments 2,214 readsPosted on 2011-08-01
I primarily shop online and therefore get many packages delivered. My UPS deliveryman never makes eye-contact, never says hello; he just tosses me the package and has me sign. Conversely, whenever I get a package from FedEx, this cheery fellow smiles while he asks me how I’m doing, and tells me to have a nice day; once we even had a laugh about my crazy dog that started licking him uncontrollably. While in both cases I received my packages, my customer service experience is drastically different. So let me ask you, based on my delivery customer experience, would you shop more at online retailers that use UPS or FedEx? Would you be more lenient when a package does not arrive as expected with UPS or FedEx? Would you wait longer to call the retailer’s call center to track the package when you know it’s UPS versus FedEx?
We talk often about the importance of positive service over the phone in the contact center, but quality face-to-face interactions can...
0 comments 1,265 readsPosted on 2011-07-25
We wax on and on about targeted marketing and proper messaging, which is why it’s so infuriating when the marketing and message are just right (and the offer is great!) but the email or mailer is littered with misspellings and bad grammar. I received an email newsletter recently and there was a typo in the first sentence. I didn’t even bother reading the rest of it because frankly I didn’t care after the typo. We tell our customers that they will never connect with their own customers or ever acquire new ones if you can’t even get the language right. Every touch point is the chance for good customer service. Never underestimate the power of spelling someone’s name correctly on a follow-up letter and communicating effectively (and spelling words correctly) in email offers.
“You butchered my name on my warranty form, you called my ex-husband for the survey (you really need to update your records) and when I called to correct the information...
0 comments 1,252 readsPosted on 2011-07-18
We’re taught from a young age to ‘love thy neighbor’, to be a conscientious citizen, to do the right thing. But often what we find is that some call centers aren’t equipped to deal with help from customers. They have a very strong culture overly focused on cost reduction (speed) and have processes to follow, and if there is no process for your request…they’re lost.
For instance, I recently received a call from a colleague who had phoned his local electric company about a severed wire he saw dangling over his neighbor’s house. He said he called for three days in a row to try and get someone from the electric company to come out to deal with the wire. The agents told him, they were clueless as to what to do or who to transfer him to since the problem wasn’t specific to his property. Did he have an account or claim number? No. Was the electric out in his own house? No. But the message he received was very clear; agents are doing what they are told to do and when a...
0 comments 872 readsPosted on 2011-07-11
Aren’t we all focused on enhancing our web sites to handle common customer service issues and questions to help reduce call center costs (headcount, resources, etc.)? What I find to be a bit of sad irony is that while time and energy is being spent to beef up web site content, few people within the company have the slightest clue as to what is on their web site. I know I’ve been guilty of this myself.
I recently called a company about a service issue and the agent promptly let me know that my issue could be solved by going to the web site. I say, “thank you for letting me know that. I did try to serve myself and couldn’t figure it out. What exactly do I need to click on to get the information?”….radio silence. The agent had no idea. So, we both think this should be possible but neither of us knows how to do it. The shame is that I am not the only one having this problem.
“When my appliance...
0 comments 1,176 readsPosted on 2011-07-05
After a very frustrating call trying to navigate my way through a certain furniture company’s IVR system, I couldn’t help but think, “Who the heck is this IVR system designed for?” The choices didn’t seem to match up with any common problems that might prompt someone to call (assembly instructions, lost shipment, damaged products/returns, etc.) and when you pressed zero to get to an agent, you were met with a ‘good-bye’ and then disconnected. Far too often our clients design overly complicated IVR systems that aren’t intuitive for the customer and end up causing frustration versus helping route callers correctly. When it comes to the IVR, keeping it simple is the best strategy. Oh, and then put on your customer hat, give yourself a specific problem to solve and then try to use the IVR. If you can’t be impartial about it, ask your spouse or a friend to try it out. Do your agents a favor and try to eliminate this built in frustration that gives them unhappy callers to handle...
0 comments 1,271 readsPosted on 2011-06-27
We’re told all the time to ‘think outside the box’. In school it meant looking at a passage in a book to see the symbolism; that the words were more than mere words. In the call center it means something as simple as creatively solving a customer’s problems. I recently tried to book a summer vacation house and after tireless research and dead-ends I called the Board of Tourism. There I spoke with a lovely woman that gave me countless phone numbers to try, web sites to further my research and even offered to call some of her contacts in the area to see if they could assist me. I was blown away at her resourcefulness and willingness to help. She called me back the very next day with vacation packages and pricing as well as the personal phone numbers of her contacts. Too often agents lose that can-do, problem solving spirit. Here are some recent customer comments from External Quality Monitoring programs:
“I called about a...
0 comments 889 readsPosted on 2011-06-20
How many of you still get solicitation phone calls at dinner time? Or odd offers via US mail? It seems like our personal data is being bought and sold to substantially more companies for “marketing” purposes.
I use the term “marketing” very loosely because what they are doing is not marketing. I get stacks of home décor catalogs that I’ve never requested from stores I’ve never heard of, and I can only assume that they haven’t heard about my less-than-Martha-Stewart attitude about home furnishings. When I stop to think how much time is wasted on broad marketing versus relationship marketing, it leads to one conclusion — missed customer acquisition opportunities. Getting the right message to the right person will acquire more customers in the short term and enhance customer loyalty in the long run.
Imagine if you were actually contacted with useful information that changed your...