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Do You Maximize Customer Service Opportunities?

Do You Maximize Customer Service Opportunities?

A great opportunity for success is the on-line customer service chat. But what an opportunity frequently wasted. Not only chatting customer serviceon-line but also any interaction with our customers.

I recently spent almost an hour of my life chatting with a customer service representative using an on-line chat program. This is not the first time I have used chat with this particular company, which provides a VoIP service I use. However, this time I paid particular attention since previous experiences were less than stellar and frustrating. Today’s experience was equally frustrating.

In order to remain objective, I saved a copy of my transcript of the chat and reviewed it to make sure my frustrations were “fact based” and not just an emotional response to a utility issue with the VoIP service.

One might think — knowing that an on-line chat experience is by definition imperfect based on language, word usage and lack of screen sharing, among other things — that the company representative would in some form account for this imperfection. I can say, at least with the service provided by this company that no such adjustment seems to be attempted.

What caught my attention was a line in the chat from the representative to me: “Philip, you are not

following my instruction.”

True. I was not following any instructions. I reviewed the transcript off-line more than once. Prior to this message, I had beengiven no instructions to follow. I opened the chat by asked a series of questions. Some were repetitive and worded in different ways since my questions were not being answered. Asking questions that do not get answered leads to frustration. I am sure by repeating questions I in turn frustrated the customer service representative.

A review of the transcript showed me the customer service agent was following his script. Not listening to me, the customer, but following his script.

Eventually, all I needed to do was click a light blue set of words, which took me to the functionality I needed. My confusion, in part, was related to inaccurate information on the company website. My account was set to auto-renew, however, when using it I received a message telling me that my account had expired.

From the transcript:

Philip Espinosa: Okay. Thanks. So. On the auto renew page I can ignore the auto renew status as not being accurate. Is that right?

Philip Espinosa: I will make a note to manually renew. 

Derick: Yes Philip, that is right.

Everything I learned during the chat could have been covered in five minutes. The customer service representative could have, up front, admitted or pointed out the inaccurate information on the web site — made it a non-issue — and led me to the three button sequence I needed to follow in order to renew my service. (If I had to guess, service renewal ranks right up there with customer acquisition.)

The customer service representative could have apologized for my needing to contact customer service in the first place. Or, the custom service representative could have thanked me for being a customer, for using their chat service, for wanting to renew, for… well, for anything.

Picking up from the transcript noted above, this is how the chat ended:

Derick: Yes Philip, that is right.

Philip Espinosa: Thanks for your help.

Derick: You are most Welcome. To better start this new year, please accept this gift. I hope I get an excellent feed back.Thank you

Philip Espinosa: Have a good new year.

Derick: To be eligible for your reward, please click here. Your reward instructions will be emailed to you. Thanks again!

Derick: Hope you will click on the link "Click Here" as a Gift from me before leaving the chat and thank you for your excellent feed back, Have a great day and be safe always.

Derick: Happy New Year !!!!

Really? No, I don’t have excellent feedback — requested twice. Really. No, I won’t be clicking on any links. I don’t want or need a reward. All I want is good customer service in the first place. All I want is to be valued as a customer. Tricks and treats don’t compensate for poor service.

A family member who was with me during this experience said: “Isn’t there another company we can use instead of going through all this?”

Really. I am sure there is another company out there providing similar services. Because I have options, I will just have to go and look.

I hate learning from poor experiences, however, unfortunately, customers are frequently presented with poor experiences. That means, all too often, there are many poor experiences from which to learn. Don’t let your customers learn from your poor service. Be the exception to the rule. Deliver excellent service and help others learn from your excellence.

Are you focused on what the customer needs?

Are your service representatives interested in scoring points or getting good reviews, to the detriment of the service being delivered?

Do you listen to the customer?

Are you more interested in the customer listening to you?

Do you convert opportunities for success into dramatic success?

Do you waste opportunities?

Deliver excellent customer service by letting your customers know the status of things, what they can expect next, about how long things will take and what you have planned for them.



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Philip Espinosa partners with people to deliver value: People | Partnerships | Value serves as his tag line. As a strategic human resources leader, he believes that service starts with the customer. His book "Deliver Excellent Customer Service with a SNAP” helps others drive customer engagement using simple and consistent communication strategies. A second book titled "Focus On Your Success - 24 Simple Insights To Drive Daily Achievement" (ebook) helps working professionals view their daily choices through a different perspective. In addition to his writing, Philip works with strategic human capital initiatives and has delivered successful results over a career spanning more than 25 years.

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