Customer Service is not a Department
True innovation, as well as customer service, comes from collaboration. It’s not a department but a culture. While the results are unpredictable no company, dealing with the public, can ignore the shift in innovation and customer service in our country. The shift has been to outsource services, automate billing, reduce personal attention, and increase errors. Shift Happens! ®
Recently, I had three very different experiences when dealing market leaders.
My first call was to CITI Mortgage to dispute new service charges on my account. I was routed to the Philippines where the person answering the phone could not communicate with me. No resolution and frustrated, I went to a local branch of CITI. Even a face-to-face meeting did not produce satisfactory results because the local person did not have the authority to make a decision. Returning home I phoned again. At 11:45PM I reached someone in the US who resolved my issue.
Time wasted, over 6 hours.
AT&T sent out their monthly statement, which contained several billing errors. I called their customer service line to be placed on hold. “Your call is important. We are servicing other customer, please stay on the line.”
Important? No technology. No automated call back. No options that so many other companies utilize when the lines are busy. No one came on the line for over one hour. The largest communication company in the world could not communicate. I tried again the next morning. It took 18 minutes for a rep to get on the line and then 34 minutes to achieve resolution. Upon conclusion the rep tried to sell me on new phone and Internet services. It fell on deaf ears.
Time wasted, over 2 hours.
I took it back a dress shirt to Nordstrom to exchange for a different design. The first person that waited on me scanned the code using an IPHONE with a UPC code reader. He found the value and immediately issued a gift card because the shirt I wanted was not in stock. He offered to show me other shirts, make suggestions, offered to email me when the shirt design I was looking for came in. He made the transaction pleasant, swift, and satisfactory, unlike the others.
Time wasted, -0- I love Nordstrom and continue to be an evangelist.
A company’s ability to create and maintain a culture of innovative customer service that is part of their strategic plan is the minimum requirement for 21st century business. Customer service is not instantaneous but the changes should be a result of an ongoing cycle to improve the customer experience. The goal is to bring the customer back and that choice is YOURS alone.
- Never give up satisfactory resolution because of delays.
- Each month check your billing statement.
- Do business with those that truly want your business.
- Customer service should be trusted, efficient, and agile.