Posted: 4th October 2010

Customer Service horror stories? There’s still a month ‘til Halloween!

To continue on the theme of our last blog on employee empowerment, I read a great post today on cnet.com entitled ‘An AT&T customer service horror story‘ – check it out, it’s good reading.

The post basically discusses the complete lack of customer service offered to existing customers by AT&T’s call centre representatives, ranging from an unwillingness/inability to disclose certain packages to the customer, through to the usual problem of being passed from pillar to post and then cut off with no one returning the call.

But going back to one of our previous posts (interestingly and coincidentally, this also references AT&T), all of these customer service nightmare stories boil down to the same set of common issues apparent in organisations that aren’t clearly focused on their customers:

1.Lack of transparency

There seems to be a distinct lack of transparency of customer information in these situations, leading to the inability of customer facing employees to retain loyal customers.

2.Lack of sponsorship from the top

I see a clear lack of emphasis on customer service from the top – if the CEO sets customer service high on the agenda, this sort of thing would not happen. Employees would be equipped with the right information and motivated to offer customers what they need in order to resolve customer complaints.

3.Lack of employee empowerment

This leads on to the employees themselves. If there is a lack of employee empowerment to act to resolve customer issues or complaints, then employees as well as customers will be left disgruntled, unhappy and in the case of the employee, de-motivated.

4.Lack of customer focus

Lack of focus on the importance of a call centre in creating customer perceptions – how many people do you know who cite a call centre experience as the reason they switched supplier?

The moral of the story? Fix these and you’re on the right tracks to having a customer-centric organisation with customer retention and customer loyalty on the increase.

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