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Is Service Down the Drain?

Posted on : 13-01-2012 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Customer Service

Tags: ,

1

I am excited to report that in the coming weeks you will be seeing some changes to this blog.  First I will be updating the look.  But, more importantly, I will be focusing on sharing stories I read everyday regarding Customer Service.  I’ll share the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Hopefully as businesses improve we will see more and more of the good.  I will also be encouraging readers, as well as businesses, to share their stories or ones they come across on the internet.  I think that this will provide a well rounded view of the current state of Customer Service.

All this is in preparation for my upcoming book called @YourService.  The book will include many personal stories, observations and recommendations for the Customer Service field.  The simple fact is the Customer and the employee now control your brand image. Many want to win in social media, but if you want your business to have success you have to start with the basics: your Customer and your employee.  Social media simply highlights the culture you already have.  The Customer service world has changed dramatically over the past 30 years with a lot of impressive technology.  But is that technology designed for the Customer or the business?  The fact is that today Customers feel further and further away from your business, and often we are sending a message that we are not interested in their needs.  We are stuck on process and we provide limited room to move.

In the book you will find many stories about service, some of which I experienced personally.  We tend to make Customers jump through hoops to get things cared for.  Sometimes I wonder if that is intentional.  Are companies just hoping we will just give up?  Of course I like to be more positive than that and hope they are simple mistakes.  Of course they happen way too often.  Here is an example of a situation I just dealt with for a new faucet I purchased.  The final email to this chain, is probably the funniest since I am not sure why I received it.  Our story starts on December 6.  I send an email to Kingston Brass/EOD Faucet because the finish was coming off of the pull knob for the drain of a faucet I bought from Overstock on September 3, 2011.  The original email includes a clear picture, our address, a description of the trouble and a request for a new pull handle.  I do not receive any response, so on January 3, I emailed again.  This time I received a fairly quick response.  The first email asks me to provide proof of purchase, which I respond with.  The odd thing about the email is it cc’ed what appears to be the human resources email address for the company.  This continues through the remaining emails, so I make sure to cc them as well.   The next email asks me to take a picture of the entire faucet “so we know exactly what part to send you.”  My first two emails did include a photo and a request for the part, which was simply the pull.  So this time I respond with two pictures.  One was simply the damaged part and the other was the entire unit.  I then get a response asking me to attach the pictures instead of cutting and pasting them in.  For some strange reason when they received the email the picture were shrunk to icons.  They were full size when they left here.  Anyway I sent the photos with separate emails.  I then get a response asking for the address to send it to, which was included in the first two emails.  Again I respond with that information and we are done with this back and forth.  The good news is I received the part very quickly but now for the odd news.  Remember how I mentioned the agent included the HR email address in the chain?  Well today I received another one which was send from CS103 to Erik Chen at Kingston Brass, the HR email and one that appears to be for tech support at Kingston Brass.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mr. Chen,

In the morning I answered phone calls and answered technical, order inquiry, and stock status questions. I wrote up warranty request forms and also entered them into Elliot. I entered orders from Kingston Brass Faucet and from SinksPlus. I answered emails from info@eodfaucet.com and techsupport@kingstonbrass.com.

In the afternoon I answered phone calls and answered technical, order inquiry, and stock status questions. I wrote up warranty request forms and also entered them into Elliot. I entered orders from Kingston Brass Faucet and from SinksPlus. I answered emails from info@eodfaucet.com and techsupport@kingstonbrass.com.

Sincerely,

Juan

After writing the book, and a chapter about an inside look at a call center, I immediately started putting together my own backstory to email, including the fact that the agent cc’ed HR on every response.  Is the agent in trouble for something and that’s why he was doing it?  I suspect that the different emails were not due to him but the process they have in place, including lack of history to identify the address.  All this is part of our Customer experience.  The key to winning in the social world is creating a good environment for agents where they can be empowered, such as possibly just sending the pull since the cost is so low, instead of the multiple emails creating frustration.  The book was fun but this will give you a feel for what this blog will be like moving forward.  Thank you for your continued support!  Please send your Customer service stories to frank@frankeliason.com  I’m looking forward to hearing your stories!