Customer Service Reps: Give Them The Greatest Gift
by Kate Nasser |
National Customer Service Week is approaching quickly. As you prepare to celebrate with your customer service, customer care, help desk, and technical support reps, consider giving them the greatest gift of all.
Procedures and policies that you use with customers need to be both achievable and respectful of customers’ time and needs. Here are two recent concrete examples that teach volumes from the not so friendly customer service procedures.
NJ Transit system now uses double-decked trains. The upper level has racks above the seats for luggage and other items. The lower level has no racks or storage of any sort. Space under the seat is not large enough for luggage. NJ Transit trains stop at the Newark Liberty International Airport stop to drop off and pick up travelers.
I have witnessed travelers with standard to large size luggage board the train and come to the lower level to find a seat. Once there they realize there is no accommodation for luggage. They leave it in the aisle leaning against the seats. The conductor comes through and states the policy: “You must move all luggage out of the aisle and away from your feet.” The customers look up, around, and sit there staring in disbelief. The policy is actually not achievable and definitely not customer friendly. NJ Transit has its struggles with finances since the governor reduced subsidies. It wants us all, including travelers with luggage, to ride the trains. In that case, it must address the needs of its customers with achievable customer friendly procedures.
NJ American Water requested by mail that each customer call to schedule time to replace the old water meter with a new water meter. I complied and scheduled an appointment three weeks ahead. A few days prior, I called to confirm it and said simply, “I am calling to confirm my appointment this Friday for the new water meter. Do you have me on your list?” The customer service rep asked me for my name and my account number to verify my identity. I complied.
In her dull routine voice, she then asked me for my street address, town, and zip code. She then asked me for my phone number and backup phone number! Meanwhile she hadn’t addressed my question. I was very annoyed and said, “I’ll make you a deal — you tell me whether or not I am on your list and I’ll tell you my phone numbers. She replied “Yes, you’re on the list.”
Out of professional curiosity, I then asked, “Why are you going through every piece of data before offering me any help?” She replied, “We are required to update your customer record when you call.” Trapping customers into playing 20 questions to update records before helping them is not great customer friendly service. Even in technical support, questions for updating records should come after helping the customer unless it is critical to solving the customer’s current problem. First help then update your records.
Give your service and support teams the greatest gift — an opportunity to deliver true customer care with customer friendly procedures and policies.
National Customer Service Week Challenge: Have all reps brainstorm customer friendly improvements to breed passionate commitment to superior customer service.
What customer friendly changes would you like to see?
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, delivers workshops and consulting for truly memorable customer service and teamwork. https://katenasser.com/workshops. On Oct. 4, 2010, she will deliver an info-packed webinar through the Help Desk Institute on spotting and adapting to your customer’s personality type. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.