Top of Mind Thursday – May 25, 2023: Doing What You Say You Will

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Sometimes I wonder if people ever read their job descriptions.

This is particularly true of those in customer service. As a customer service rep, your job is to help a customer resolve their issue. It’s not to berate the customer for calling, or to make it impossible for them to get to someone who can solve their problem. But there’s one sin CSRs make that beats all the others: telling the customer when their issue will be addressed–and then not making their own deadline.

This past week, I found myself with a dead major appliance. Getting a service rep out was simple–the dryer was dead and replacement parts were not available. Getting the home warranty company to come through with their promise to find or pay for a replacement was not so simple.

Calling their customer service line resulted in extremely long waits–but they had that covered. They would hold your place in the queue and call you back when a rep was available. That sounded reasonable. They even told you when to expect a call–which was estimated at a 90 minute wait.

Unfortunately, in two instances, the call never came. In the third, the waiting time was supposedly 2.5 hours, but the call came 4.5 hours later. Huh? Then the service rep told me the same thing I had been told two days earlier–except the deadline they’d set for resolving the issue had been moved out two more days. And she was annoyed that this didn’t make me happy. Double huh.

Let’s make this simple: For the customer service component of your business, make sure you have people and systems that understand what’s needed. No one calls customer service to tell you how happy they are with your product or service–they call because they have a problem and need help. Hire people who are willing to be helpful, then give them the tools to actually solve the customer’s problem.

AI may be a tool to help CSRs navigate complex problems more quickly, but it won’t replace the human element. We’ve all gotten stuck inside automated systems that provided more aggravation than help, which makes the customer even more frustrated than when they started.

And, most importantly, when you set expectations with a customer, do so knowing it’s your business reputation on the line.

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