I often get a kick out of companies that spend tens of thousands of dollars on advertising and public relations then have it all go to waste because of poor customer service.
What’s the point of undertaking a 10 point public relations initiative when the customer service reps improperly answer the phone or have no idea how to work with a potential client.
In our town we have a cable company that has written the book on disastrous customer service, if you can even call it “customer service”. It’s more like customer inservice.
A typical call involves a ritual of entering your home phone number about three times and navigating a series of prompts. Finally you get to “talk” to an automated voice. Say the word “agent” and then you get put in the queue to talk to a real live person. Finally your call is whisked to India, the Philippines or some other remote spot where the person on the other line can barely speak the “King’s English”.
Once you get a live person you have to go through the entire ritual all over again. What’s your home phone number? What’s your address? Your social security number? Who cares?
By the time you go through it all over again you forget why you called in the first place.
And there is no communication between call center employees. Talk to someone on Monday, call back on Wednesday and find out there is no record of your earlier conversation. Any promise goes unexecuted and unfilled. Only an in-person visit to our local office produces any results. Even that generates different responses from different employees. It must be great to be a monopoly.
The same is true for other organizations that think they are saving money by funneling customer inquiries to undermanned and understaffed call centers. Frustration leads to desperation and desperation leads to termination.
No amount of creative advertising or well-placed articles can overcome a disconnect between an unprepared sales staff and ill trained customer service representatives. Why not spend money on customer retention? It’s easier, and less costly, to keep 50 customers than to lose 70 clients but get 71 new ones.
It’s a shame so many companies just don’t get it.