Top of Mind Thursday – June 15, 2023: Do Your Damn Job

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It happened again this week.

At least once a day, someone else told me about a simple customer service issue they tried to resolve that became unnecessarily complex and drawn-out–and I experienced this myself, too.

None of these were unique situations. It’s likely a similar situation happens to this company dozens of times a day–if not more. Yet, in each case, the company representative was unable or unwilling to do what was needed to help, which should be exactly what they were hired to do!

Meanwhile, we’re living in an uncertain economic environment. There are layoff and cutbacks. Wouldn’t it make sense for companies to take some kind of proactive action to keep the customers they have satisfied?

Why does this happen? In some cases, customer service has been relegated to a series of prompts on a computer. If your situation fits their script, you’re in luck. Otherwise, the rep can’t or won’t think outside of the box. In others, it seems apparent that the company really can’t be bothered to help you. If you leave, someone new will take your place.

In my case, I was trying to dispute a credit card charge. The supervisor at the credit card company told me I needed to have proof I received a credit to dispute the charge. But if I had the credit, I wouldn’t be having the dispute now, would I? She repeated the same thing several times, louder and slower, until I told her I heard and understood everything she had already said, I just didn’t believe the argument made any sense. Then she hung up on me.

There’s much consternation today about how generative AI might disrupt our lives, eliminate jobs, and drastically change the way we do business. Yet, given the current state of affairs, it’s hard to see how an AI bot could make things much worse. At least generative AI tools learn–which doesn’t seem to be the case with today’s tone-deaf human reps.

How is your business doing in this area? Here’s a novel idea. Try calling your own customer support line with a problem and see what happens. Then you can see where you have to step in and get people to do their damn jobs.

Check out our marketing leadership podcasts and the video trailer for my book, Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing that Matters.

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