Thursday, July 16, 2015

I Don't Work Here (A Work-Related Post)

(Also posted on LinkedIn)

Well, I'm biting the bullet.  I'm going back to the cable company.  A few years ago, the phone company offered us a better deal on the phone-internet-tv bundle (with the TV being supplied by a well-known satellite TV provider).
And then over time, we began cutting cables.  We dropped satellite in favor of internet TV and then dropped the landline in favor of our cell phones.  
Suddenly, internet from the phone company wasn't a good deal.  No more bundling discounts, no more introductory rate.  And it was failing us as useful, reliable internet, especially uploading (Flickr, FTP for work and outbound wifi calling on our cell phones).
So, the internet company once again looked like the better deal.  I could purchase my own modem, so all I needed them to do was "flip the switch."  Or at least it seemed almost that easy in my mind.
I argued with countless online chat folks, canceled several in-progress orders and finally turned to social media.  I was in regular contact with someone on their Twitter feed who said that they could turn on service for us.  No installation charge, no sending anyone to the house.  They could just flip the switch.  Cool.
And then they went radio silent.  Not sure why.  Possibly lost in a Hootsuite backlog or something.  So I called in to the cable company.
And finally, finally, finally, someone explained why there might be a need to have someone come to the house. A good, solid, reasonable answer I could accept. In most houses, cable outlets are already where people want them.  So when people switch from cable to satellite, the satellite guys will often cut the cable line and splice in their satellite.  So even if the cable company flips the switch, the line is broken somewhere.
Duh. That makes so much sense.
But me, as a customer, didn't think of that. I only saw a company (not well-liked by a majority of its customers) trying to squeeze an extra $50 out of me.
Finally, an answer that made sense.  So they went ahead anyway and tried to see if they could flip the switch. And they scheduled a technician as a backup, just in case it didn't work.
And I'm satisfied with the $50 charge I'll be paying for a technician.  (The line was cut, I attempted to slice it myself but it didn't work as the modem hasn't sprung to life.)
And I'm happier because I feel more informed.
The people in the online chat never bothered to offer up this kind of information. And I'm probably not the only one who's wondered about this.
Is there any parts of your customer service process that have become so second nature to you that you forget that your customers aren't clued in? Is there any place where taking a few more seconds to understand where they're coming from will help you to create a more well-informed, satisfied customer? Are you surveying your customers in a meaningful way where you can find these kinds of gaps and questions and work to address them proactively going forward?
Never get too far from your customer, never stop stepping into your customer's shoes. And don't say tell me "this call may be monitored or recorded for quality or training purposes" is the answer because that's too passive.  That doesn't automatically guarantee growth, improvement and movement towards awesome customer service experiences.

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