What Do You Get When You Call Customer Service?
Greetings. Before I begin, In observance of Labor Day, there will be no blog post next week September 6, 2021.
Thanks to the many people who over time have sent me emails regarding their experiences and frustrations when calling technical support or customer. I have been asked to write about it many times, so here it is.
I'm sure this has been more frustrating during the pandemic when people were working from home. However, it's been an ongoing pain in the butt for much longer than that. We are all aware that many things in life will frustrate us. However, I think we would all agree that the #1 thing on the list is when you have to call CUSTOMER SERVICE for a product or problem with a problem you own. I first must state that this post in no way is a reflection of any ethnic group. However, they all try to be courteous and try to assist. With that said, I have to wonder what some companies are thinking. After I stopped working as a field paramedic in the pre-hospital medical sector, I became part of management. The position I held is irrelevant, but part of my responsibilities was dealing with patient complaints. Yes, some people call in to ask a question. You might do that from time to time yourself. Instead, I find that when most people call customer service, they are angry about something. Usually, it is the numerous options they had to go through to try and get to speak to a human being. Therefore, looking at this picture, the first contact with the customer, the customer is usually displaying the face on the far left. The goal by the end of the call is to have the customer showing the look on the far right.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE?
That is certainly a noble goal, but easier said than done., especially when they want you to take a survey at the end of the call, which many hang up. I get the more for less business model, and I also get why some things get contracted overseas because the cost is so much cheaper. However, when you finally get a customer service representative after waiting on hold for what seems forever, after you have pushed at least five different options to try to get to a live person, you get someone you can't even understand. Now, I can work with that. We talk slowly, take our time, and work on the problem. Then, after some time has passed, as you try not to lose your patience, you finally realize that the person on the other end knows nothing about the product you are calling about, and they are reading from a step-by-step script. A script they cannot veer from because they do not know about the product. Now you are even more frustrated. Moving that face from left to right has now become very difficult.
As more time passes, the person trying to help also becomes frustrated and tells you they have to pass this up to the next tier of support. Here is where it gets interesting. Because most times you have to start from the beginning all over again. As I stated earlier, these overseas contracted customer service companies that provide this less expensive service to large companies try. However, their efforts are most times in vain.
Then a miracle happens. The Gods shine a light upon you, and if you have been a terrific person, you get to the next tier and get someone who knows the product. Even better, they speak your language so you can understand them better. At last, you can now have a conversation. Your face above has just moved two places to the right. Once you get the feeling that the person helping you know what's going on and puts you on hold to check something, your face moves one step closer to the right in anticipation of good news.
At last, they return to the line and tell you they know what your problem is, and they help you fix it. Your face has now made the long-awaited journey to the far right, and you are happy. The only problem now is, you look at your watch and find you've been on the phone for three hours.
WHAT ARE THEY THINKING:
Now I'm going to tell you a true story. A while back, I had to attend a dinner. I don't remember how, but somehow we found ourselves talking about this exact thing. One of the people at the table began to tell us a story about a customer service experience they had. But, not to bore you with the details, his company also outsourced their customer service department. Indeed, for the same reasons, I'm sure. But, the moral of the story was, this individual was in an influential position in the company he worked for and eventually got them back to doing their own in-house customer service. All because of his experience when he needed help.
A company tries to set its brand. Part of that brand is their reputation.
Have you ever wondered why a company will advertise that their customer service is located in the United States in their advertisements? That is a clear sign that companies know that outsourcing certain parts of their business, although cheaper, is more costly in the long run. Many times, when I buy a product, I look at the companies reviews. If they get bad marks in the customer service area, I will not buy the product. Purchasing the product is the easy part. The real money is made with good customer service because the person who purchased a product from that company will buy another and recommend that company to their friends. All of this process is part of branding. What a company tries to achieve.
Most times, extreme cost-saving measures end up costing more in the long run. Therefore, I can't help but ask myself, 'what are they thinking?' What rocket scientist did they hire that filled their heads with this line of crap. In all fairness, I have also spoken to some very knowledgeable outsourced customer service representatives. Maybe I got lucky?
However, when I call a company, and the conversation looks something like this, something is seriously wrong.
I know each of you that may be reading this has experienced the same frustration. Not once, not twice, but many times. The sad part is, there is not a heck of a lot we can do about it. We can only give a poor review, hit 1 star instead of five in the survey, leave an appropriate constructive comment in the appropriate section, and hope someone notices. We live in an era of 'more for less.' Get more work out of people and pay less or get it cheaper elsewhere. Is this a good recipe for success? Or is it the formula that will keep jobs in this country? MADE IN AMERICA used to mean something. It represented quality, and for the most part, it still does. So why skimp on the family recipe by offering or at best customer service or technical support? Just my thoughts.
Stay safe and be well,
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