How to Drive Customers Away

May 30, 2012

Anyone who has ever been in a sales, service business or even had client customers knows the importance of “customer service”. So why is it so hard to find quality service when interacting with people representing a company these days? Here are some possible reasons:

People are underpaid. They don’t get paid enough to deal with the issues at hand, so when they get irritated by the already irate customer, this individual hangs up. Nice way to handle the problem, right? Of course, wrong. But it’s happened a lot to me lately. This type of behavior only infuriates me more since I have to call in again only to wait in queue.

People just don’t care. They are underutilized in the job they are in. Perhaps their real profession was a higher skilled one and they are doing customer service merely to pay the bills. Their heart isn’t into it. Another version of this comes from improperly trained people. The result is that the customer gets treated poorly.

People aren’t skilled enough for the job. When I recently bought a new computer, I had to deal with a myriad of technicians who were supposed to know more than I did (should have been really easy with my level of computer savvy) only to find that they couldn’t help me solve the issues at hand. Mind you, it was a brand new computer so it should not have had so many issues. That’s another side of the problem. For now we are looking at the issue of trying to get service. I called and called only to find the person I was talking to had no clue about the particular software problem that the company I had bought it from (third party sale) sent me. I finally had to send the software back and use manual transfer of my data from my old system to the new one after I got hold of one technician who knew what he was doing. I was on-line with this guy from 9:30 pm until 3AM. It took that long to set up a new computer that I was told wouldn’t be a problem. Again, not the real issue here, but a tag along one. Sales over sells and service has to take the ball from there. I guess service is thrown some curve balls, but people should be properly trained. I also want to add that I had paid for upgraded priority service for three years on both hardware and software.

The company’s operational rules and policies are broken. I’ve just completed a 10-year line of credit with one of the huge banking/mortgage firms. After 8 of the 10 years on the program, I decided to actually use it to buy a heating and a/c system rather than take money from my investments due to the large sticker price. After all, the whole idea of the line of credit is so that the payments can be made over time, the interest rate is very low (3.25%) and the interest is tax- deductible as part of my mortgage. That’s the concept anyway. I barely got started with the loan only to find out that I had to pay the full money back within two years since the LOC was ending. Ok, so I had to make large payments which I figured I could do over my bank’s bill pay system. I was surprised to find that these ACH payments were converted to physical checks (part of this company’s policy requirements) and went into the mail. By the time the company actually got my $14,000 payment now in the form of a check, 6 weeks had gone by, I was nearly crazy making phone calls trying to track it down and I learned a lot about where the money could go along the way. I learned much more than I should have ever had to deal with. Every person I worked with gave me a run around until I finally drove over to a local branch and spoke to the branch manager who promptly helped me. After that, I physically went to the branch and made transactions. In this age of automation how bad can a system be that I can’t go online and make payments with full confidence. Just today I tried to resolve an issue with the final balance on this line of credit and again they drove me crazy until after the fourth try I got a woman who resolved my issue right away.

So in the end, if the first person doesn’t help you, hang up and call back. Eventually, you’ll get someone who knows what they are doing, is responsible, and actually cares. There are some good customer service people around. But you have to look hard to find them. Make a list and share it when you do.

 


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