The Shocking Truth About Customer Service
For many years now, “customer service” has become a dirty word in some parts. That is regrettable. Some corporations feel the pinch on their bottom line and tighten in the one place where tightening is perhaps the most detrimental—listening to the customer. When the customer gets squeezed by CSR quotas, the company will end up paying dearly. But it need not be as bleak as all that.
We’re talking about the focus on quantity rather than quality. To be sure, the customer service rep (CSR) who makes a dire mistake will pay dearly with the proverbial “pink slip.”
So many examples have crossed this desk of customer complaints receiving boilerplate responses that had no bearing on the topic. The harried CSR wants to keep their job, so has to meet or beat quota. The customers’ needs only stand in the way.
Case in point: a customer needed to transfer money and decided to try one of the new international money transfer vendors based in San Francisco. We’ll call them “Company X.” The customer had moved to the Philippines and they signed up using an email address for their overseas PayPal account. Funds would go from PayPal to Company X and then to a brick-and-mortar outlet in the Asian islands.
The customer had not yet had their overseas PayPal account verified, and despite the Company X mentioning nothing about this as a requirement, the lack of verification proved to be a stumbling block when the first transfer was attempted. The customer attempted to resolve this with the vendor’s customer service department only to receive a boilerplate (pre-packaged) message about the lack of verification.
The customer then switched to their American PayPal account which had long since been verified, but they received the same error and same boilerplate response. Every attempt to contact Company X on this matter resulted in the exact same response—word-for-word, letter-for-letter. The customer then sent a screen snapshot of the “verified” status of their American account, but received the same boilerplate response. It was as if they were communicating with an blind and uncaring robot.
Can a corporation give better customer service without greatly impacting their bottom line? Of course they can. One way is to modify the purely “quantity-based” quota system to a hybrid which allows for quality handling when needed. Some corporations seem to think they already have this covered, but if the frontline CSR’s know nothing of this multi-tiered system, they won’t know to transfer an “orphaned” complaint to that other department. Another problem to solve.
Another part of the solution is corporate training. I’m referring to the online training courses that need not take a huge chunk out of the daily production. This e-learning can be done at the CSR’s own pace and schedule. It can be paused and picked up right where they left off. Easy, convenient and even fun. Imagine a CSR actually having fun. It can happen.