Press "1" to Go Nowhere
MINNEAPOLIS, February 28, 2014
Over the years we have learned to accept that no longer will a problem be resolved quickly. With the invention of IVR (Automated Phone Systems), companies have found a way to make customers "go away" when they have an issue. Very few have the patience to go through an entire complaint process.
Companies have gotten clever and begin their IVR dialogue with "Please listen carefully as our option menus have changed". After several frustrating, time-consuming attempts we have all tried to "one up" the system so we cleverly choose "press 1 for sales" figuring a real, live person would probably answer quicker if they felt we wanted to buy something.
Once answered, it is most common to be talking to someone in India. Now, not only is there a language barrier, but there's also an automated system giving the operator automated responses. Employees in India are empowered to say only one word. NO.
According to John Tschohl, author of "Customer is Boss", "Not enough firms use humans to answer the phone in 1-2 rings. They love technology. If they took the time to ask their customers about it they would find out the vast majority of customers hate IVR. So, the question is obvious, are they trying to create a great customer experience or are they trying to be the tops in technology? Very few firms are interested in keeping customers and creating a great customer experience."
Companies that are committed to service recovery know they can win customers for life by solving their customers' problems. They go beyond the call of duty to make sure their customers are happy-with their products and service. But what happens when the company doesn't solve the problem? What is the next step? We have tried to contact Customer Service, Supervisors, and Managers. Same as most everyone in the same situation…we end up nowhere.
According to John Tschohl, author of "The Customer is Boss" Too few of us complain so most organizations believe they provide awesome service. You need to start out by writing a letter to the company. Let them know that your situation was not handled properly and that you are dissatisfied.
Following are a few steps one should take to write the appropriate letter.
1) The letter should include your name, your address your home and work phone numbers, date and time of complaint, names of individuals you spoke to, specific statement of your complaint, history of what occurred, and copies of all documents related, if any.
2) The letter should be typed and to be effective the letter should begin with a compliment, emphasizing the satisfaction with the company, up until now.
3) Identify the service you're complaining about. If the bad service includes a purchase, identify the product with serial, model, and service numbers. State where the transaction took place and include a copy of the receipts.
4) Describe precisely why are you are dissatisfied.
5) Explain what you would like the company to do.
6) Close with a pleasant request for assistance.
In addition to the above steps, a good letter consists of five simple elements, whether you are just "calling your attention to" or saying "I think someone ought to be aware of…" They are"
1) Clear statement of the problem. "You mistakenly over charged me for X,Y,Z".
2) Facts that back up the story.
3) Request for redress: Correction of a Bill, Refund, and Repairs. Or, if you're merely upset over service, request an apology.
4) Deadline for resolution of your problem.
5) A warning of further action that will be taken if things don't go your way.
You deserve to be treated respectfully and have a great customer experience. Keep in mind that you are doing a business, government, or non-profit organization a favor when you complain. You are helping them provide better customer service to everyone. You are helping them turn a bad situation into a good one.
John Tschohl, an international service strategist and speaker, is founder and president of the Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis,Minnesota. Described by Time and Entrepreneur magazines as a
customer service guru, he has written several books on customer service. The Service Quality Institute (http://www.customer-service.com) has developed more than 26 customer service training programs
that have been distributed and presented throughout the world. John's bi-monthly strategic newsletter is available online at no charge. He can also be reached on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.