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Thank you for reading my blog, my name is Mike, how can I help you today?

February 15, 2012
Customer Service center at 23d Street downtown...

Image via Wikipedia

Recently, I called up my wireless company to make a few changes on my phone plan. I figured it would be a simple in and out procedure.

Being a good customer, I had done a bit of reasearch at my providers website so I could understand the choices that were ahead of me. However, being who I am, I still wanted to hear the sound of another persons voice confirming everything I had done, and assuring me that my choices were well made. I only pay my bills online, but if I want to make a change, you better belive I will be calling in.

What I will be relating to you in the next few paragraphs, shouldnt shock you, if you have ever been a customer calling into a company to do business. It certainly wasnt a horrible interaction, (We will look at those another day), but neither did it truly have any meaning or satisfaction. I wanted to start off examining this interaction, as I thought it would be a great way to kick off this first post, and set an agenda for whats to come.

Without further ado, the interaction: (The names of the parties involved have been kept secret to protect the dissatisfied)

  • Rep: “This is Your Cell Phone Company, what can I do for you?”
  • Me: “Um, Hi, this Is Mike, I was calling in to make a few changes to my plan today?”
  • Rep: Ok sir, can I have your phone or account number.
  • Me: Sure its, 999-999-9999, who am I speaking with?
  • Rep: This is Jim sir, can I have your security pin?
  • Me: Ok, its 12345
  • Rep: What were you looking to change today?
  • Me: Well, I noticed on the website that I wasnt using all of my minutes every month, and I thought I could lower my minutes, so I wasnt paying so much.
  • Rep: Ok, so, you know which plan you want then?
  • Me: Well I had an idea, but I wasnt entirely sure.
  • Rep: Ok, well if you’re looking to save money, I would suggest the starter minutes plan.
  • Me: Well, how much is it?
  • Rep: One second please ………..(Dead Air about 3 minutes)………………..
  • Me: Hello?
  • Rep: ………………….. (Dead Air)
  • Me: Hello?
  • Rep: Hi, its $29.95
  • Me: Oh ok, I thought we had been disconnected.
  • Rep: (Pause) Did you want that plan on today sir?
  • Me: umm, ok sure. It’s the same one I saw on your website right?
  • Rep: Yes sir.

For the sake of brevity I’ll tell you how this ended. It took another five minutes to get my prorated billing squared away, as well as ensure that the plan I wanted was in fact the same one he had put on my account. In fact, about a month later with over twenty dollars in text message charges I discovered it wasnt. You can imagine I wasnt very happy about this when I had to call back in and get everything straightened out. Often during the phone call, I felt more like a dentist trying to pry out tooth, then a customer calling in to make changes.

So what happened?

Lets break the phone call down simply, and discuss what was missing.

Zhuyin on cell phone detail-2

Image via Wikipedia

No personalized greeting, not even a name until I asked!

I’m not big on scripts, (I’ll tell you why another day) but at the very least, tell me who you are. If I had wanted to use the IVR I would have!

No Attempt at building rapport.

As a customer I want to feel appreciated, and If I’m not calling in upset about something, it can’t hurt to ask me how I’m doing, can it?

No Clarification of my request.

It never hurts to restate to a customer what it is they want to change. Very often the root cause of many customer service issues is directly tied to a misunderstanding.

No questions or discussion about my needs and wants.

A few questions about how I use my cell phone service may have kept me from getting put into the wrong plan. Not to mention that no attempt was made to even keep me in the same plan. Again, I can’t stress enough, ask questions.

Dead Air

The worst of the worst. For one I was a bit miffed that my rep didn’t know the prices at his own company, but that’s forgivable, most big companies change their prices and packages daily. What did he do though? Put the phone on his desk to go ask? While none of us like hold music at least I know I’m still somewhere in the company instead of hung up on.

Recap

So at the end of the day I may as well have processed everything online. It would have been efficient and hassle free. However, your company’s website has no way to keep me interested. It has no way to build a connection with me. At the end of the day, your agents are responsible for building those relationships that keep your customers paying good money to keep YOU getting paid.

In the weeks to come I plan on sharing what I have learned makes a good customer service experience, specifically targeted at call center work.

If you’re in the industry I hope you will read this blog and offer your own suggestions and ideas as well, good customer service is something we all want to strive for, but there is always a new idea waiting to seed and germinate.

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