Customer Service From Both Sides of the Fence

I’m sure you can all relate to calling in for service . . . let’s say you have a cell phone and something goes wrong. You go through their phone help list, ie., press 1 for billing, press 2 for . . . After you get to 4 or so, you get their final message, press 5 to replay this menu. Yes, it drives everyone nuts, we’re all in the same boat without a paddle.

The thing that bugs most customers is calling for customer service and a foreign individual answers the call. What most companies do not realize is that a foreign individual will not understand common everyday American language. After 20 minutes or so, I am SO angry, I can’t see straight and start talking like I am speaking to a deaf person, at the top of my lungs, one word at a time. To the companies that have moved their customer service overseas to save money, and to the companies who have went to the infamous “call script”, YOU ARE LOOSING CLIENTS BECAUSE OF YOUR SERVICE, is it worth it? As a company, you need to learn one important lesson, your service representatives need to know the business from the ground, up. Your training should include time spent in the various business areas of your company so the rep understands all of the basics and can actually answer a question with WORK KNOWLEDGE, NOT A SCRIPT. The person that came up with the idea of reading from a script to give customer service, should be shot. This is not good customer service. Your customers should not be so upset at the end of a conversation with your service representatives that their blood pressure is through the roof. A customer can and will go elsewhere. Wake up and smell the anger before your clients blow a gasket and go elsewhere.

Now for the other side of the fence. Yes, I’ve been in some type of customer service for the last 40 years. I know how to give good service and I know when it is a lost cause. For you as a customer, let me give you some advice on getting good customer service. Don’t call when you are already angry, you will only cause yourself more grief. Cool down first, take a few deep breaths, get all your paperwork in front of you with all your client numbers or card numbers, or phone numbers, and then call. If you have to go through the “phone help” game, listen to the selections and if none seem to fit your problem, press 9 or 0 and see if you can bypass the rest of the messages. If that doesn’t work, press any key in their list and when you get a live person explain that you couldn’t figure out what number to press for your question. Most customer representatives will take pity on you at this point and try to help you even if you are in the wrong department.

And finally, for the customer service representatives who really and truly put up with all kinds of crap. Remember that the client you have on the phone now, is not the client that called you a bad name or gave you a hard time a few minutes ago, so treat him/her as if it were you on the other end of the phone and try to help them. If the question is beyond your capabilities, ASK the client if you can put them on hold so you can find out the answer to their question. When you go to your help person, write down the question and answer and after giving the answer to the client, post this question and answer in a reference area so you will not have to go to someone again on this question. If you have trainers, ask them to let you sit in the various service areas so you can truly relate to all service issues that you may have questions on. This is extremely helpful for when that customer, who just pushed any old button because they couldn’t figure out your phone system, comes through to your line.

Victoria Adrian
Battle Creek, MI