Customer Service Frustrations 6-8

Today I’m going to cover frustrations number 6, 7, and 8. I’ll finish up the series with 9 and 10 tomorrow. The whole thing is explained here.

Frustration 6: Company is too slow in addressing concerns.
I’m not too sure what Forbes means by this frustration, either. However, my guess is that companies can’t fix problems fast enough and can’t resolve elevated issues fast enough.

  • Have operating procedures. What are agents supposed to do when issues get elevated? What do programmers do when bug reports come in?
  • Have internal systems with reminders. Have bug tracking and elevated request tracking systems and procedures that make it so agents and programmers are reminded about elevated issues and how to solve them.
  • Set definitive dates. Tell the customer you will follow up with him on September 1, not “in a few weeks.” Then, set a reminder for September 1 so you remember to actually follow up with the customer. Same thing goes for programmers – set due dates and be sure to meet them.
  • Solve issues on the spot. Probably the easiest way to address the problem with being too slow to address concerns is to solve issues on the spot. Get the supervisor, the customer, and the original agent on the phone together and resolve the issue before you hang up.

Frustration 7: Agents aren’t personable.
This is a tough thing to come up with a definitive answer because it varies from agent to agent. Some possible reasons agents aren’t personable:

  • They are too busy and don’t have time to be personable. In a lot of companies, agents have to get through a lot of calls or a lot of tickets and just look at each call as “another call” and want the quickest way to solve it.
  • They don’t smile (http://www.serviceuntitled.com/smile/2006/06/12/).
  • Companies don’t hire for attitude (see above post). Attitude is extremely important in customer service.
  • Companies don’t care about hiring personable agents. They want people who can answer the phones, solve issues, and repeat the process from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Frustration 8: Customized solutions aren’t available.
This is more of a company problem than an agent problem. Companies have to be flexible and give agents the ability to do things. This is often called empowerment. Companies have to empower employees and have set procedures for elevating issues when problems occur.

An agent should never say “I can’t do that.” because it is a lie. The agent just doesn’t have the access or power to do it. The agent should say “I can’t do that myself, but let me check and see if my supervisor can come up with a solution.” This is a better way to spin it and the customer will at least know that the agent tried.

Simple solution: give at least one group that customers can access the power to come up with customized solutions. This may be the agent or the supervisor or manager, but just make it someone.