Saturday, December 27, 2008

Customer Service Woes

Nothing is more frustrating than having to call Customer Service. It often requires a heavy dose of sedatives and massive quantities of booze to endure making a call to Customer Service. Eating a plate of glass and nails would be less painful.

With the downsizing of most companies, there are a bunch of pencil pushers sitting behind corporate desks concocting brainy ideas of how to streamline services. While computers and technology are great, the better investment as far as I am concerned is in the live representatives. Modern technology subjects the consumer to automated answering services and computers that are guessing what your needs are. Frequently there are no options to speak with a live person. Even more frustrating when you find a company that gives the option to speak with a live person, only to discover that the company has failed to educate/train their employees on how to be effective in Customer Service.

If someone doesn’t know how to handle your concerns, they transfer you to the next person, or guess where you need to go to obtain the help you seek. Most of the time the guess work and “I don’t know what to do’s” of the representative could have been answered if they had listened better and asked more questions of the consumer. It’s frustrating as the consumer to spend hours upon end in total frustration/exasperation, being transferred all over the globe and back before FINALLY getting your question answered (if you are lucky).

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve worked Customer Service for a major Insurance Company. We were required to complete Customer Service Skills and Telephone Skills and pass the tests prior to being able to answer the phones. I know all about answering questions and getting consumers off the phone as quickly as possible so to reduce wait times, etc. Awards and recognition are often given to the representatives that answer the most calls, keep talk times to a minimum, etc. However, in order to be effective as a Customer Service Representative you have to be patient and listen to the customer…after all, they are the ones that pay your paycheck.

All too often, companies don’t worry about the quality of customer service as they should. Is it good customer service if a consumer is rushed off the phone or transferred in a circle of representatives around the globe because of the time factor? Why is it that folks have to call in half a dozen times or more before a representative will take pity and stay with you to see that your concerns are FINALLY taken seriously so you get results?

Multiple phone calls to a company wastes time for both the consumer and company. Representatives have spent more time frustrating the consumer with unanswered questions. Time is wasted and phone costs increase over multiple calls. Money that would be better spent on better employee training if these companies hadn’t enticed the representative with a reward for ending the call quickly and allowed them to spend the time necessary to solve the problem with the first call.
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