I had one of the worst customer service experiences in my life yesterday. As often happens, a bad experience on one hand turned into a learning experience on the other.
I won’t go into all of the gory details (there are many), let me just give you a few of the lowlights (there were no highlights). Basically my problem was that when I went to the web interface that the company provided me, the information that was supposed to show was not always appearing. It was inconsistent. One minute it was there, the next it was not. There is no doubt that my problem is a technical issue, and it definitely is on their end.
Yesterday’s call was about the eighth contact with this company’s service department, with each call being escalated to a higher level of support. Not only is this incredible expensive and labour intensive for the company, it was very frustrating for me as each person I spoke to was just looking for a new way to tell me that the problem was with my computer. Each person was over complicating things, none would believe what I was saying, and all believed me to be incompetent.
Yesterday, I was first asked if I was close to my computer and if it was turned on. (I am not kidding). After then being asked to once again give remote access to my computer, I refused. On more than one occasion, I stated “No there is no need for you to access my computer, you are not understanding my problem. Please go to the site and tell me what you see!” At one point, I literally had to scream into the phone and say, “Stop interrupting me, and listen to me!”
Finally, someone actually went to the site and had a look. Finally, they understood what I had been saying over and over again. Finally, they agreed it was a technical issue on their end.
So what are the lessons learned? Firstly, don’t just hear what the customer is saying, actually listen to what they are saying. Above all else, don’t use the time that your customer is talking just to think of a new way to say the exact same thing you just said.
Secondly, when dealing with a customer service issue, peel back the layers of the onion and solve the actual problem, not just the symptoms to the problem. Sometimes the fix may be easy, but finding the actual cause may be the hard part. Stick with it though because by doing so, you will save everyone time, money and frustration.
The same is true in a sales situation. Make sure your solution solves the prospect’s real problems, not just what he thinks are his problems. Ask questions to clarify and dig down to the root causes. Remember, better the fact find, happier the customer, better the paycheque!
P.S. How were things left with my issue? I am to contact them if the problem reoccurs. Right…I will get right on that.
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