You pick up the phone, call the customer service hot line and anything after someone or something picking up the line at the other end goes downhill from there. Sound familiar? It should. Even though we live in one of the most service oriented countries experiencing truly great customer service is the exception more so than the everyday occurrence. If you are the customer support team leader or the entrepreneur who is the ultimately responsible for everything including after sales than the quick cheat sheet is for you.
Sure fire ways of telling that you or your organization is delivering below average customer support:
- Your customer support folks have responsibilities, but they have no or unknown authority over making things right for the customer.
- The warranty or freebie account/ project review process entails a personal line item by line item review through either management or the CFO.
- Your business plan does not allow for or plan on warranty and freebie costs (service or products that you give away even though you could have fought the claim). Does your sales price account for having to be able to offer hassle free service?
- The word “policy” is uttered in front of customers.
- Your support folks are eagerly telling your customer what they cannot do – instead of what they will do.
- You have an automated phone attendant instead of a live person. Worse: you have a system that lets the customer enter his product/service/personal info and by the time you speak with a real person you need to repeat this again.
- Really bad: you do have a live attendant, but he/she picks up the phone immediately asking the customer if he can hold just to be put on hold and not waiting for an answer.
- There is no complaint or feedback management system. If you do not have the awareness, how are you ever going to improve anything?
- Your accounts receivable department is sending out overdue and collection agency threat notice out without first letting your sales or customer support departments review the case(s).
If any one or more points apply to you then you really have some work cut out for you. You want to know the fix? Two action items lie ahead of you. For one listen – really listen – to your own people. They have the best answers already in their heads. Start with the weak points that you uncover and turn them into opportunities. That would be the best way to turn a desert into an oasis.