Who doesn't love themselves some customer service? Well, as TMCnet reported last month, apparently quite a few people. In a study by Aspect (News - Alert) Software, four in 10 Americans admitted they'd rather go to the DMV than deal with customer service.
A great deal of the user frustration with customer service is the often totally whacko way companies implement it. A recent blog by Eric Robeson reviews some of the major problems.
Companies have a strange tendency of calling customers and leaving tantalizing, vague messages about the user's account, prompting a call back. When the mystified consumer calls back, they often face a labyrinthine maze of automated options. How can one pick the number corresponding to the service he/she needs if they don't know which service pertains to the voicemail?
So, a customer does what anyone who, not having not a clue what to do, would do: they dial “0” to get to an operator (not always a possibility), or they just pick a number, any number to get to a human being of some sort. What then ensues, typically, is a kind of relay tag (News - Alert) sport where the customer is the ball. The consumer is passed from representative to representative until one representative turns out to the right one and....score! Communication is established, if by then, the customer hasn't already hung up in an outburst of tears due to resurfaced abandonment issues the runaround has brought on.
Clearly, in these instances, the company providing the so-called customer “service,” is blatantly in the wrong, and there are tactics one can take to ensure a more pleasant, or at least, more organized experience for customers.
Robeson suggests that by keeping track and leveraging context of customer interactions through various engagement channels, companies can personalize customer service interactions and boost closeness with customers.
A company can still use automated systems; it just needs to do so in a personalized way. Robeson suggests that if he had received a call from a company with which he had an account, he'd have appreciated a automated answer that went something along the lines of “Thank you for calling us back, Mr. Robeson. We have a question for you about a recent purchase.”
As Robeson points out, customer satisfaction makes for customer loyalty. If a company has consistent branding across all channels, and it keeps track of its own consumer outreach, it can actually be inviting, or at least, not horrible.
Edited by Rich Steeves