I keep talking about customer service problems because I experience them myself and hear about them all the time. My company, Strategic Communications, trains customer service agents for other companies, so I get countless calls from frustrated friends and family asking me what to do.
The Customer Service Problem
I tell them we are hired to help employees understand their role in delivering good service. We don’t hire or fire. We can only recommend. Our personal experience is often no better than theirs. They say they wait endlessly on phones for supervisors, or anyone with knowledge, to help them. The customer service people sometimes become rude, transfer them repeatedly, and often disconnect them. Since their problem is unsolved, they have no choice but to try again. Same story repeated. I tell them many times the customer service person is as frustrated as they are. With work from home (WFH), the supervisor is not close by. He or she has to be reached by phone or chat. The situation is difficult for everyone.
An Empowered Customer Service Agent Makes the Difference
I went through a dismal three-hour experience myself. By the time I got a person who had knowledge, my patience had worn out and I was angry. The manager calmly said if I would let him finish speaking, he might be able to help. I apologized. He couldn’t fix my problem, but he explained it was a glitch they had been trying to correct. Everything I had been told before was incorrect. He explained why and he apologized. I told him about another problem that was never resolved to my satisfaction. Again, he explained the reason for what had happened and apologized. I wrote a letter to the company’s management commending him. To my surprise, I received a call thanking me for taking the time to write. The employee was being recognized, and I felt appreciated. Although the original problem was not fixed, I knew they were trying. That made me feel better.
Making Customer Service Work Again
WFH is complicating lives for many of us. Offices will eventually reopen, and when they do, training events will help develop a new—and hopefully better—normal. Until that happens, companies are beginning to realize they have to support those who are WFH. Customers are valuable. Even if they act out, as I did, customer service agents need to defuse the situation and find common ground.
Lead by Example
Our roadshows can help reinforce the customer service message. However, it’s up to every manager to lead by example. Thank your employees. Help them understand the most important part of their job is valuing the customer. Covid will be over eventually. You want your business to remain strong and vibrant.
Call us and see if we can put our expertise to work for you. Let us help you create customer service that is recognized for succeeding during good and bad times.