Surfing the Riptide of Customer Service, part 3

In part 3 of our series (start at Part One here), my friend’s story about his customer service experience continues on the phone with Apple Store continues on the phone…

So I begin to explain, yes, of course, there are ways to make appointments without my needing to sit at a computer. So, she transfers me to corporate help on the national level.

There, after a host of menus, I’m not getting far. So I answer in my best Cajun accent knowing that they’ll send me to someone who is bilingual. Sure enough, a young lady comes on the line.

She explains that she, too, can’t take an appointment. I explain to her that she has a computer, she has the URL, of course she can take an appointment. She can fill in the blanks and I’ll tell her what goes in them. She says, yes, of course she can do that.

Then she says, “There are no available appointments for a few days.”

So I said, … let’s be clear. I’m in your local store. I tell the lady I’m coming through on Wednesday afternoon and what time. She says I have to dial a phone number to set up the appointment and I can’t do it until a day or two before Wednesday. I do that. Then I find out that a day or two isn’t far enough ahead. And that the phone number doesn’t allow me to set up an appointment either. And then I remember that toy I really wanted for my 4th birthday and I channel all of that pain into the phone call.

She says, “Just drop in, find the manager, explain what happened on Sunday and today and she’ll take care of you.”

Cool. I give her the “human engineering talk” about the touch tone system as well.

So at this point, if you are the call center person, how do you relay to your corporate IT/communications group that there is an obvious problem in the phone menus? Many small companies lack a trouble ticket reporting system for people at this level. It might get written on a Post It note and referred to someone later, or it might be forgotten.

Just a thought…

If the next customer to deal with this problem buys iPhones for a Fortune 500 company, what’s the potential cost to Apple and AT&T?

If the next person to fall into your trap does so because you don’t have a solid mechanism for reporting, tracking, fixing and getting user feedback from your own people – what could that cost you?

How big is your biggest customer? That’s how much a simple customer service problem could cost you.

One reply on “Surfing the Riptide of Customer Service, part 3”

  1. Unfortunately, in my experience as the CS phone rep… the gal will walk into the managers office, or the execs office (Open Door Policy being all the rage don’cha know) and tell them about the issue… and how the restrictions of the CS job aren’t letting her take care of the customer.
    I’VE actually been the person saying “I could have taken care of this customer in 20 minutes if management would have allowed me to actually take care of the problem. Instead the customer has talked to several of us, for 5 or 10 minutes, over 5 or 10 phone calls, still hasn’t been resolved, and is now VERY angry.”

    Management, even if they get the trouble ticket, or the CS rep standing in the office telling them what the problem is, even 30 times with 30 different customers, the CS rep will be ignored.

    The phone menu (push 9,999 to get a human being) just make an annoyed customer with a problem that should be resolvable with ONE phone call just angrier and angrier.

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