Today I had two experiences that made me want to let off steam about customer service. Or rather, the lack of it. I feel I may have reached that age, the age where one turns into a grumpy old man. Some may argue that ship sailed long ago.
Please don’t tell my wife, but I visited a well known fast food chain for my breakfast, my weakness the sausage and egg McMuffin. I used the drive through and when I came to pay the server was bright, bubbly and smiling. Wow, I thought. She’s enjoying her day. Two seconds later I approach the main event, the bit where I get my snap. This server was the polar opposite. Efficient, yes, but very dour.
Later the same day, I have the misfortune of talking to my business bankers, an experience to behold. I interacted with a call centre, my online account and the online chat.
Let’s start with the online chat. I went through the entire process only to be told I would have to start again as this chat was not secure. That meant I had no option but to contact the call centre. Including the 15 minute wait to be connected this whole process took up an hour of my time. All because they cannot communicate swiftly and efficiently. This gross inefficiency (or incompetence) is causing them and more importantly their customers to waste valuable time. All because they have failed to design their systems and processes with their customer at the heart.
To add insult to injury, I decided to give some constructive feedback (see paragraph one, grumpy old man). I presented my facts in four clear bullets only to be thrown off the page because I failed to complete my mobile number in the way they wanted. The contact form deleted everything on the page and forced me to start again, or abandon. So now, if transacting with them was not hard enough, complaining was even harder.
Now, banks will hide behind a load of rules and regulations. I know, I used to work in one, and that was over 20 years ago. I see nothing has changed.
Service is a lottery, and yet it is the one thing that all organisations have in their gift.
I put it down to two things:
1. The systems and processes make it impossible for the decent people in the service industry to deliver the service they can. The system disempowers them.
2. The engagement of their people is so poor that they have failed to communicate their vision and purpose in a way that their people can connect. If they don’t get why service is so important to the customer, then businesses are putting more than that customer at risk, the brand, future revenues and a lot more besides.
Of course, individuals can take ownership for how they behave but businesses, please stack the deck in your people’s favour and give them the tools to deliver, both they and your customers will thank you for it.