Customer service is one of the biggest paradox of our times.
The more we move towards self-service, chatbots, the more we have to interact with humans. The more we interact with humans, the more it feels we are talking to machines.
It is a vicious circle all of us want to avoid.
Lately, I have been talking to a lot of customer service reps from different industries – retail, banking, visa processing services, e-commerce, over different channels – phone, email, chat.
I know it appears that I am on some sort of mission here, but it was just my (bad) luck!
There was one common thread across all these interactions, lack of human intelligence or empathy.
At one instance, I almost told the person at the other end to please behave like a human, because it seemed she wasn’t reading any of the messages I sent in the chat window.
In another instance, the rep of my telecom service provider was trying to up-sell when I made the call for the cancellation of connection.
To top it all, when I got a follow-up call to check why I gave a bad rating for my interaction, the person at the other was only interested to improve the rating of that particular call, rather than addressing the actual issue!
The only saving grace for me was the fact that someone is monitoring these ratings, whether it results in customer satisfaction or not that is a separate discussion.
Where did it go wrong?
How did customer care turn into customer unaware department?
Who trains these humans to mindlessly repeat sentences like “Surely, I will assist you”, even though they have no idea what is going on?
What happens to all those calls that are ‘recorded for quality and training’ purpose?
Standard operating procedures are required, protocols are necessary but why don’t they help the customer?
The bigger the brand the more frustrating is their customer’s experience, why?
What is so difficult about delivering these experiences that disgruntled customers are almost equal if not more than satisfied customers?
Is it the technology? Is it the process? Is it training? Is it the organization structure?
The customer experience is not only fragmented, but it is average at best.
Who in the organization is responsible to report on customer satisfaction? By customer satisfaction, I don’t mean the NPS or average of any kind of score, I mean ACTUAL satisfaction.
How many times a customer contacts us?
How many times they have to contact us to solve one issue?
If this information is easily accessible on the website, why are they calling us?
Is it wise for the agent to say please look for this information on our website when the customer has been waiting for ten minutes to speak?
Is someone smart enough to deduce that increase in waiting time for the customer is an indication that we need infrastructure upgrade or additional resources?
What is so difficult about the questions above that only a few organizations seem to have answers to them?