Bad customer service, it seems, is endemic. We’ve all experienced it and often chosen different paths because of it. One of the bigger frustrations for customers comes when they work with a large organization — one that has the resources and the executive sponsorship to ensure a good experience, and yet doesn’t.
Earlier this week I encountered a problem with an e-reader device from a large corporation. When I reached out to get support, I had a couple of key goals:
- I wanted to reach out on my terms. I spent about ten minutes, the night the device broke, searching the internet for a fix. Once I did so, I was eager to get a more curated support option the next morning.
- Despite reaching out the next morning, I wanted to keep the channel via an online chat so that I could be on a critical conference call simultaneously.
- If I could avoid sending the device back, I wanted to do that.
Logging into the provider’s website (with my username and password) provided me the ability to obtain support. The site itself recommended I call (instead of chatting) which was odd to me and the first indication of a lack of awareness on the provider’s part. Why? Because encouraging a customer to choose a particular channel should be transparent to the end user, ideally.
When one thinks about the types of channels available to support, there’s a clear advantage from a cost perspective for customers to choose self-service over email, and email over web chat, and web chat over telephony. So it was odd to feel pressured to choose the most expensive channel.
Once I opened a chat window and began to reach out, the first question the person asked me was to tell him my name, my address, and what type of device I was having issues with. This despite the fact that I’d already logged into the website, and selected the device I was having problems with. The technician then asked me to perform a set of steps I confirmed I’d already performed. That increased my frustration.
After about twenty minutes of chatting, the front line tech sent me to a second person to deal with the issue. Having a handoff also decreased the overall user experience. After another fifteen minutes, the second person determined that the device was damaged and shipped me a replacement, but asked for my credit card information to confirm it.
Overall, the experience was not awful, but also not great. My problem was (in theory) solved, but the nagging thought throughout the entire experience was that an organization of the size and resources I was dealing with (and one that advertised great customer service on television) had done a poor job.
Let’s do a thought experiment: what would a great experience have looked like?
First, the device in question was an e-reader. Why not use that intelligence to drive the support conversation? Imagine if after I opened a support request, the provider noted that I had used my e-reader within the past 24 hours, and could even tell I had been an avid user of it each week. They could also look at my history of e-readers and tell I’d been using new ones for the past five years. The result could’ve been “Thanks for reaching out! We see you’ve been a valued customer of our e-reader platform for several years, and have done soft and hard resets in the past. Have you tried that already? Because we haven’t seen your device sync up with our servers in over 12 hours, since 8:00pm. Oh, that didn’t work? Let’s get a replacement out to you via priority mail right now. In the interim, are you going to use your phone or your older e-reader? Great! As an apology for this failure, we’ve gone ahead and deposited $5 in our bookstore for you to use right now”
It’s not difficult to imagine, especially for a large organizaition. Think now about all the customer service experiences you have on a regular basis. How many resemble that interaction? Why is that? The biggest driver in the past was cost: most smaller businesses didn’t have the telephony, ticketing or other technology systems to support such a move.
The times, fortunately, have changed: instead of requiring large systems, heavy infrastructure and complex routing scenarios, organizations from sole proprietorships all the way to large enterprises can turn on customer service in minutes. Instead of putting this power within the hands of a small customer service team, organizations can enable every single staff member to gain access to the systems required. That change in focus, making “customer experience” important to every employee, is at the heart of any successful customer service initiative. How do we do do that? New Signature works with customers each day to leverage the power of the Dynamics CRM platform to light up these great customer experiences. What does that mean, specifically? In short: every single interaction with a customer needs to be captured. Phone calls, emails, social messages, etc. A single portal to capture customer service requests, and better yet, rich analysis of data to proactively reach out and help customers who need help before they ask for it. A true “system of intelligence” to help drive up satisfaction and repeat business.
That is a customer experience everyone can appreciate.