Are you an angry customer? Do you have angry clients calling you? Which ever side of the fence you’re on, LISTEN UP! Whether you call customer service, visit a service business, or you are the business in question, we all need to work together to improve the experience of doing business.
On a call to customer service, you usually have an agenda. ie. There’s a reason you’re calling. On the otherside, as a customer service rep, you’re there to understand the agenda being presented and provide solutions. Simple right?
THEN WHY IS EVERYBODY YELLING!?!
Just kidding, not everyone yells, but hopefully you get my point. Why is this interaction so touchy? Chips are on shoulders, we’re walking on thin ice, you can cut the tension with a knife, etc. Why do we have to tip-toe around and be so scared to have this interaction? When there is a problem, it should be voiced, addressed, and resolved. Bing-Bang-Boom. Done.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen nearly as much as it should. A recent call to DirecTV’s Customer Service shows both what should and shouldn’t happen. I noticed incorrect charges on my bill so I called in with an agenda: get those removed from my bill. After holding for a short time, I got a gentleman with a heavy accent and what seemed to be an annoyed tone. We exchanged salutations and I started telling him what my issue was. Before I was finished, he cut me off, saying he needed my account number before we proceed–really? you need it before I proceed to tell you my issue? really? I gave him my phone number and we went through verifying my account. Afterward, he asked me what I had called in about. I was fairly frustrated because I had already told him part of it and we wouldn’t have to go through this question again if he had but listened. After listening, he said that he couldn’t help me. WTF. WTF. Why would you waste my time like that?
So what we see so far is the situation I’ve been complaining about. A call to customer service with an agenda, the rep failing to acknowledge the agenda and ultimately wasting time and not taking care of the issue. Chips are now flying off of shoulders, people are getting angry, and the situation is going to hell in a hand-basket.
After wasting my time, I ask to speak to someone who can help me since the person I’m speaking to is obviously incompetent. I’m transfered to a cheerful woman who asks me how my day is going. I tell her my issue and she apologizes, asks for my account info, solves the problem by crediting my account in the same amount and correcting the issue that caused it in the first place. While there was down time, she asked me about my interest in sports (evident by the package I purchased) and continued a conversation about college football teams in my area. She completed the call after hearing my agenda — at this point it was not just the incorrect billing but it was also the annoyance of speaking to an incompetent person earlier, addressing it — she acknowledged my billing issue and the annoyance in my voice, and resolving it — she made me feel important for calling and showed that she cared by finding out something about me and having a decent conversation, and she took care of the billing issue.
Thanks to the DirecTV experience, we see both ends of the spectrum. Whenever we call customer service, we should always see three things happen with our problems: we should be able to voice them, they should be addressed, and they should be resolved. If this happens, we won’t see chips falling off shoulders, instead the chips will stop showing up all together and we can all live in a civilized world of service.