Customer service gone bad

It’s hard to tell if you’re losing business because of the economy or doing something wrong. Competition is so keen now, what once may have just been mildly annoying is now the reason your competition has claimed some of your customers. Perhaps it is time to take a closer look at the management support, training and motivation of your workforce. I’ve compiled a short list of the most annoying habits of customer service personnel which is  almost guaranteed to have your customers running to your competition. Any of these sound familiar?

  • Chewing gum. Can you think of anything more annoying than listening to someone chewing gum over the phone when they are talking to you? In person, I can’t seem to concentrate on what the representative is telling me because the movement of her jaw and the snapping sounds distract me too much.
  • Phone texting. Does a customer service representative think that I don’t notice how he is texting someone while dealing with my problem? As I am signing my name and filling out a store form for my refund, the person behind the desk is sending his girlfriend flowers from his Iphone.
  • Multiple phone transfers. I had a problem with a generator and called the toll-free number. Not only was I met by too many numbers to push for more extensions than I could count, but each time I had to repeat the story of my generator and why I wanted a refund due to a manufacturing error. Last I counted, I told the same story six times.
  • Lying customer service representatives. Do they lie because they just don’t care or don’t know the answer? The last representative told me the refund would be in the mail the same day. Six weeks later I still did not receive the refund or an explanation.
  • Key personnel missing. I look up the manager or key person who can help me with my customer problem, and leave numerous messages asking for a return call. He is always in meetings, traveling or having a family emergency.
  • New person on the job. New customer service representatives should have a trainer if the new person is a rank amateur, and that would save me tapping my foot on the floor waiting for the representative to go back and forth trying to solve my problem. Now if there was a trainer next to the newbie, I could have been on my way, happier and the problem likely would have been rectified before I tapped a hole into the floor.

Basically, even if the customer doesn’t realize customer service means more than refunds, exchanges, or a polite greeting, doesn’t it come down to the little things that make the biggest differences?

photo credit: Dan Zen