I just got back from my first of two trips abroad and what an amazing time I had. From the mountains of California to the deserts of Nevada, I just have to say the landscapes are just simply incredible and I got to see quite a bit over the nine days I was there. I drove 1500 miles in a Mercury Grand Marquis; hardly in style, but a cruise none the less! (It also explains why my ass is a bit numb!) 😆
As you’d expect, after getting back from a holiday, I had come back to lots of things that needed tending too including; my car battery which was flat. I called the rescue company, and as far as helplines go, they weren’t too bad in responding to my call but in general, customer services has gone completely down the proverbial toilet! Due a to mix up with my previous car, they nearly ended up charging me for the call out.
We need a new style of leadership when it comes to customer services. Everywhere I go now I rarely hear people say anything good about any customer service departments they deal with. Why do companies insist on making it so difficult? For profit margins? I can’t see those poor strategies doing anything other than damage profit margins so I’m not sure where that thinking arises from.
Here’s what I think needs to be done.
The automated selection systems need to be completely abolished altogether. However if used, they need to be kept an absolute maximum of three options. As an example these 3 could be used: i) Sales; ii) Customers Services; iii) Technical Support. My bank have the right idea. As soon as you call them you get through to a person and they have the ability to deal with the majority of your queries.
If they can’t deal with it they pass it onto a specialist from the relevant department and they also explain the query to them before handing you over so you don’t have to explain yourself again. That is the best way of doing it. They don’t ask you to click through a billion options before being put through the same department which you would’ve got through to anyway.
Off-shoring is probably the quickest way of saving money and pissing off your customers all in one swoop. Hey, I’m Indian and I struggle communicating the with the Indians! We’re only human and sometimes communicating your point to someone with a thick accent that doesn’t understand your query can be so frustrating; especially when you have to repeat yourself.
I’m not against off-shoring as a whole but you need to know that if you’re going to take that route that your customers aren’t exactly going to be jumping for joy. It takes years before you get used to it and years for the staff to get more accustomed to communicating with other people; something which is irrelevant if you have high turnover. I have colleagues over in India and it’s taken years for us to develop that rapport and ability to understand each other clearly.
The adopted attitude of many of the reps I’ve spoken to over the last few years has been one of ‘lets just get them off the phone as quickly as possible’. I like to think of myself as a good customer and someone who, if given a good service, will respond accordingly. If however, I’m not treated like a human being then my first reaction is to rebel against them. If you want to elicit the best from people you have to know how to communicate properly.
The general state of the attitude of customer service staff I believe stems from one prime thing; poor leadership. If you have someone there who doesn’t lead well the reps will go on to do what they want and behave in ways to suit them. Put a good leader in place who knows how to elicit the best from people and that will filter down the chain of command and ultimately to the reps that you and I speak to over the phone.
Lets take this word ‘Service’ past it’s superficial level and take it up a notch. We are all servants in one form or another. Service is a certainty in life. As it’s a given we then have to choose how we serve ourselves and the rest of humanity. (ultimately, in my opinion one and the same thing!) Whether you run your own blog, business, or you’re an employee you are serving your customers and that QoS (Quality of Service; pronounced ‘kwas’) experience will stay with people for the rest of their lives.
Having a deep rooted desire to truly serve comes from a good leader but from one other important ingredient. It comes from a deeper understanding of yourself and the lasting affect of your actions. Some people may not want a fun and pleasant transaction. They may just want a quick clean solution. If you can learn to pick up on these subtle nuances and better understand the needs of people and what people value the most, you’ve not only found the best way to serve through your vocation, but you’ve now also found a powerful skill to enrich your experience of life.
1. Get rid of these automated menu selection systems. They’re pointless and only cause the customers to get irate before they’ve even speak to a human being.
2. Put a good leader in place. Someone who knows how to get the best from people and someone who understands the needs of the both the business and customer concurrently.
3. Develop a deeper understanding of the word ‘service’. Take pride in the way you serve and set powerful goals to provide unparalleled levels of service.