Have you been in this situation before?
“Hi, I am X, a buyer of the truly awful product sold by you and after months of pure misery, I want a refund.”
“I am so sorry for your pain. However, it is only my manager that can deal with this. Let me connect you…”
Annoying as hell, right?
I read this on an LinkedIn Pulse article the other day and it struck a major chord in me. “We are all customers to each other” – that is simply the best thing I have read about customer service, in a grand total of seven words. How true! The simplest of things but one we tend to forget most of the times.
Oftentimes, ‘dealing’ with a customer service rep either grates our last remaining nerve or moves us to frustrated tears. The ‘why’ of it can be summed up in five neat reasons.
1. “Please wait, you are in queue!”
This has to be the biggest peeve ever! How many times have you tried to get on the line, only to get a recorded message, followed by the worst ever music on loop? Especially when it is the middle of your day and you have plenty of chores to deal with, than sit with your ears glued to the phone / hands poised ready over the keyboard (if you are on LiveChat). Guess what happens when the clock’s ticking gets louder and louder?
2. The “pass the parcel”
This is the top reason why anyone hates getting on the Customer Service line. Because, rarely are your issues dealt with straightaway. Most times, you are put on hold when the agent checks with someone else in the office (or simply plays Tic Tac Toe, like my mum suspects!) and then come back with more questions than answers.
Or worse, they are clueless and declare “I will get back to you on this”. You know then that your query is going to the Query Graveyard and you have to resort to message boards or Google to sort your issues out for you.
3. “I will escalate the issue”
This, as we all know, is code for “I haven’t a clue what is happening but I will tell you this so you think I do”. This also takes the form of “I will check with the team and get back to you.” Some helpfully tack a “ASAP!” at the end of it to show their high levels of commitment. But when is an escalation actually needed? When does it work? Does the agent know?
As Jennifer Bridges, founder of PDUs2Go.com says, “There is a lot of judgment and discretion that must be applied in order to not escalate too early and ‘cry wolf’ or to escalate too late and ‘miss the boat’.”
4. Speak to the supervisor
This is usually trotted out after the fourth attempt at figuring out what has gone wrong. The hapless agent will tell you, the increasingly irate customer, this and rather than confetti and cheers, this announcement usually is met with irritation as this means more wasted time for the customer. More time spent in explaining the issue from the beginning, because, despite the standard claims that “all calls will be recorded for quality and training purposes’, the Supervisor or Manager will need to be filled in by you, thereby negating the past 15 minutes of your life.
5. Script, by Robot
When was the last time you took to the streets skipping in joy at the thought of an agent reading robotic phrases off a script in an unwavering monotone? I am going to hazard a guess: never.
So why do the companies that train the agents assume that trite, robotic phrases and stock lines are what a customer needs to hear? Why issue the agents with such tired scripts in the first place?
What are your pet peeves? Share with us!