So I call my bank or, say a credit card company’s customer service line. When the automated system picks up, I’m prompted to enter or in some cases speak my account number. A few seconds to a few minutes later, a live person greets me and the first thing they ask for is my account number.
Has this ever happened to you?
If they can’t find a way to pass that account number info on to the customer service rep, why bother to ask for it up front?
I find this kind of thing to be frustrating and a waste of time. I’ll bet you do, too. If a customer is calling because they’re already a little frustrated about a problem, something silly like this ensures they’ll be even more irritated before the conversation even begins. Plus, even though it’s not their fault, the customer service rep is usually going to catch the brunt of that frustration. Companies that do this are adding a lot of stress to both their customers and their customer service reps.
A much better customer service experience
Last week, my Time Warner cable internet service went out briefly prompting a call to customer service. The automated system recognized my cell phone number and asked if I was calling about the account associated with that number. They gave me the option of responding by voice or keypad, which was convenient. When the live rep answered, they greeted me by my name and asked how they could help. Now we could get right to solving the problem rather than spending more time looking up my account info.
That’s the way it should be done. I understand that not every company can afford the technology to do this but if not, then at least turn off the system that’s causing me to provide my account number twice.
Make it easy on your customers
This isn’t just an issue with telephone systems, either. Yesterday, I had an appointment with a local body shop to get my car door repaired. Geico has setup relationships with local body shops so that they have an appraiser on-site as well as a rental car counter to make the estimate and repair process as painless as possible. I’ve you’ve read my last two blog posts on Geico, you know I’ve been very impressed with them.
So I was a bit disappointed when I walked in the shop for my 1 PM appointment. A receptionist handed me a clipboard while talking on the phone and several other employees stood around looking everywhere but my direction. The form on the clipboard was asking for the exact same information I’d given the Geico rep on the phone. Once I filled everything out and signed, the Geico rep, who’d been standing around whistling Dixie six feet away, springs to life and walks over to collect the form and introduce himself.
I couldn’t help but wonder why, since I had an appointment, they didn’t have the paperwork filled out for me and just ask me to sign? After all, they knew I was coming and there weren’t any other customers waiting.
The Geico rep was very friendly as was the guy from the body shop that would be overseeing the repairs and they got me in and out of there pretty quickly. I think it just never occurred to them that filling out the paperwork for the customer would not only delight their customers but also make their jobs easier, too. Why not setup a system so the home office sends the pre-printed form over whenever an appointment is booked?
Are you doing anything to frustrate your customers?
One way to eliminate glitches like this is to see your business through your customer’s eyes. Recruit or hire a mystery shopper. If you have a website, check to make sure all the links are working. Place a test order through your shopping cart. Check to make sure your opt-in process, if you have one, is working properly.
Chances are, you’ll find a problem that needs fixing or a something that could easily be modified to improve your customers’ experience.
Have you got a tale to tell about exceptionally good or bad customer service? Please leave a comment below. I’m off to Austin to speak at Pat O’Bryan’s Unseminar (Affiliate Link) but I’ll be checking in soon.