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Your Customer Service Backyard is Stinking!?


Customer Expression When Faced With the Poor and Bad Customer Service
Customer Expression When Faced With the Poor Customer Service

In this digital era, it has become so essential to have various customer service touchpoints introduced besides your call centre-based support. It has become an essential devil to nurture – AI BOT, WhatsApp chat, Online form filling (complaint or a grievance), and APP-based options. Is there anything wrong with, having it? The question should be more about whether are you able to manage it effectively? Are you prepared to manage it efficiently? Is it helping your customer?

Many organizations will be able to answer the first two questions in affirmation because they will have their internally developed key performance matrix, which will provide them with the coloured picture – you get to see, what you want to see!!! A negligible number of organizations will have an outside-in view (Customer perception) of their customer service touchpoints helping their customers.

'27% of the customer say that ineffective customer service is their top frustration. #'

Sharing a few examples from real life, which gives me a reason to believe that ‘Customer Service Backyard is Stinking’ and its time for the organizations to take a 360o look and clean their backyard for delivering customer service, provide grievance redressal and handle service recovery to make your customer believe that organization values their association.

'89% of Gen X are sharing their BAD customer service interactions with others on social media. #'

Examples 1: Faced with online e-commerce fraud, wherein a credit card was used for payment, I called up the bank’s phone banking executive. I am informed, he can’t help and that I need to go to fill out their online grievance redressal form. No option but to take this step. When I was submitting the form, post filling in all the details, I was getting an error message with the request to try after some time!!! Filled in form was not saved either. After failing several times, I called up their phone banking again. Now I am provided with one email ID to lodge my grievance. I did file my grievance through an email. I promptly got one email confirming email receipt and informing me that my grievance will get attended to within 3 working days. Later I got two additional emails informing me that my grievance has been forwarded to the higher authority and they will reply within three working days. I got the reply after almost 12 days, but not in my favour.

'3 prominent reasons that make customer service interactions bad are a) Explaining the same problem multiple times to multiple service executives b) It takes too long to resolve c) The problem was not resolved. #'

Example 2: I came across an e-commerce portal, serving the need of senior and elderly citizens in terms of various items required by them. I have proactively, shown this to my elderly couple staying in my neighbourhood. As requested by them, I ordered two items. I got the indication that we can expect a delivery between 3-5 days. After 7 days, when I was informed that the items have not been delivered, I decided to help them. I made phone calls to their given helpline number, and it remained unanswered! Finally, when someone picked it up, I was told, the item got delayed and the same is under process and we can expect delivery in the next 3 days. Again after 5 days, I followed up with phone calls. Fed up with phone calls not getting attended, I used their WhatsApp chat facility for the first time. I got a different status. On the same day, I filed an email complaint and got their reply giving me a status quite different from what I got on their WhatsApp chat. Luckily, late noon, I managed to speak with their call centre executive, but I got another different reason for the delay. All three platforms to serve customers, were inefficient and gave a different perspective to the customer and thereby making customer engagement more painful. The irony of it would be that internally, they will show the closure and meet their performance target!!!

'82% of shoppers especially seek out negative reviews. #'

Based on your your past customer service experience, what is your opinion?

  • Yes, Customer service backyard of organizations is stinking

  • No, Possible level of customer service is provided today

Example 3: I ordered one track pant with specific colour using a specific e-Commerce company’s mobile APP used regularly by me. I received the material but found it to be of a different colour. I returned the track pant, with the due comment about the colour not matching. I got a replacement packet, but it still came with the same earlier supplied colour, which was not the same as what was shown on their app. This time I cancelled my order and sought a refund. I gave extremely critical comments about the vendor and questioned even the e-Commerce portal’s responsibility. My post was returned to me with the request to moderate my earlier comment as the same was not aligned with the company’s policy!!! I never responded to that. Later, when I placed another order, to my horrible surprise, I was informed that Rs 50/- will be charged if this order is returned. When I checked further, I was informed that considering my past rate of return, it was found that I demonstrated an unusual return rate and therefore this time refund amount is charged! I cancelled my order and sourced the same product from the other online e-commerce portal. I am also considering not ordering any longer from such an e-commerce portal.

Likewise, there is more dirt in the backyard – Not handling the supply of duplicate goods, issuing difficult numeric codes and then expecting a customer to use it in all their future communications, closing your ticket without getting your consent and many more.

'79% of consumers who shared complaints about poor customer experience online has their complaints ignored. #'

Your customer service backyard gets dirty due to the following reasons;

  1. Absence of or improper standard operating processes (SOP)

  2. Lack of integration between different platforms

  3. Lack of real-time transactional data integration and customer data sharing with the front-end team members

  4. Poor employees’ skills development

  5. Lack of customer centricity

  6. Not understanding the business multiplier effect due to customer satisfaction

How any organization can clean their dirty customer service backyard and deliver a seamless customer experience, enhance customer satisfaction and thereby improve customer retention, leading to business growth and profitability improvement?

  1. Develop a customer-centric orientation, while developing any customer service touchpoints

  2. Reflect customer centricity in the front-end SOPs that you develop.

  3. Integration is key – Platform integration, backend-frontend integration.

  4. Skill your customer service team – frontend and backend (functional, tools and soft skills training).

  5. Empower your employees to serve customers beyond set SOP/standards.

  6. Develop infrastructure and IT stack to ensure real-time transactional data integration and customer data sharing with the front-end team members.

  7. Gauge customer perception and customer satisfaction by bringing an outside-in approach to understanding it.

# Compiled using different published online sources as an indicative reference.

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