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Why is Customer Service so difficult?

sweetebeesweetebee subscriber Posts: 1
Let me explain a little tidbit about Customer Service.
1st - The reps get paid very little money.
2nd - Almost all call centers of customer service demand you spend only 3 minutes per call (cause other customers are waiting).
3rd - You`re so busy, you cannot follow-up your calls.
4th - No Supervisor wants to take any customer calls, regardless the issue.
5th - Some customer service centers have "stupid scripts", which usually don`t pertain to any customer questions.
6th - No notes on the account, hence, the customer having to repeat the problem.
7th - Tell them we will return their call - hahahahaha.
8th - Who cares.
9th - The customer is always wrong.
10th - Time vs. Money.
I know, I work in a Customer Service Environment, and have for years - it drives me crazy...I am the complete opposite of these reps, and always get reprimanded for "helping the customer"...
I want so much to start my own business...
Angelsandy5/Dallas, Tx


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    storybookstudiostorybookstudio subscriber Posts: 7
    Wow!!! That is unbelievably terrible customer service!! Sounds like the company is run by a bunch of kids with no clue. I had to laugh when you mentioned ipowerweb...the absolute WORST web host on the planet (well, at least until I read your story!). Unfortunately, I have had many terrible experiences with them. I finally gave up and switched webhosts.
    My husband did a search an found a list of the top 10 web hosts. We called each one to see how long we would have to wait in the customer service queu. We waited less than a minute and they were so polite...that was all it took. We signed up and have been thrilled with their service ever since.
    Common decency seems simple enough. I used to work in customer service for a software reseller. I literally took hundreds of inbound calls each day. The majority of the calls were tracking issues. Since the software we sold was primarily geared toward developers who were waiting for software to complete projects, we had plenty of very annoyed/irrate customers. Sure, there are some people that you just cannot please, but as long as you were polite and did everything you could to correct the problem without being rude...more often than not, the customer would understand. The one thing I learned from those days in customer service is that you can take a total screw up and turn it into an opportunity turn that upset customer into your biggest fan. Leave them telling others `Hey, they really screwed up but they bent over backwards fixing it!"
    It just doesn`t seem to happen that way these days!
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    sweetebeesweetebee subscriber Posts: 1
    Hi Craig
    Thanks for your reply.  I agree with you "wholeheartedly". 
    `The policies being set by the larger corporate offices.`
    Hence, my number 10:  Time vs. Money.
    This is precisely why younger  people are now working in more and more call centers.  This sweet group will "go with the flow", whereas us "older folks" usually have a word or two about how to improve customer service.
    Why do not the Corporate Entity understand?  More calls are not always better.  How about Great Customer Service. More Happy Customers.  That makes more sense to me.
    And, the "Kudos" - sheeesh, give me a break.  Wooden Nickels (for what) and "candy".  How about a dollar bill or a Certificate for a Job Well done!
    By the way, I have been blessed with working for large Corporate Companies, not just small ones.  Basically, they operate the same - outside of a few I really believe - do it right!
    Angelsandy5/Dallas, Tx
    sweetebee12/29/2007 8:55 AM
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    storybookstudiostorybookstudio subscriber Posts: 7
    Doormat - The host my husband went with was Host Monster. I use Host Gator and have been very happy with them as well.
    Thank you for taking the time to visit my website. I have been in the startup phase of my business for about 2 years -getting ready to launch my first manufactured product in about a month. It feels like it has taken forever, it`s been a very long process. I have tried to use this time (while I wait for my first production run to be shipped) to start a newsletter and gather sales leads. I can`t wait until my product gets here though and I can start selling and gathering feedback and testimonials.  
    Are you just starting your business? What type of services will you offer?
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    storybookstudiostorybookstudio subscriber Posts: 7
    I couldn`t agree more. I actually feel sorry for some of teenagers I know personally. I don`t feel that they`ve been prepared for the real world at all. They are either on the computer, or texting away on the their cell phones without even acknowledging anyone entering the room. They`ve got ZERO social skills and even less respect for authority. I feel that they are socially unprepared to function in the real world. It`s both sad and frightening to imagine what the future will hold for them. Parents and educators have certainly dropped the ball in many ways - but as they say hind sight is 20/20. As a parent who is raising young children, I just hope that the mistakes I make today will not create such major character flaws when they are adults.
    Doormat - I have designed a creativity kit for children to apply designs to fabric using peel and stick stencils. Here is a link to the product:

    http://storybookstudio.net/index.php?ma ... a1ed3aabda

    I checked out and commented on your Elevator Pitch. Interesting idea!
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    storybookstudiostorybookstudio subscriber Posts: 7

    I am so passionate about this customer service issue, I wish I could make a business out of it.   You could! Provide customer service training and seminars. Are you as passionate about your current business idea?
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    sweetebeesweetebee subscriber Posts: 1
    I believe in the "FISH" principle - at least it`s fun! 
    And, I believe in marketing a "Pay it Forward" Customer Service Approach.  Actually, this principle really does work, and everyone feels good about it.  Much gets accomplished, and many people have a better outlook on life in general, plus it`s a "nice thing to do".
    It`s really a very old principle with a new name for modern times.  Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.  Sounds nice, huh?
    This is the principle I try to live by...and, it`s working.
    Recently, we all heard or read about the wonderful customer at Starbucks who paid the coffee bill for the next person in line behind her at the rush window, then the next, then the next....went on for awhile I understand.  People kept "Paying It Forward".
    Angelsandy5/Dallas, Tx
    sweetebee12/30/2007 4:19 PM
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    mattadamsmattadams subscriber Posts: 2
    From Seth Godin:

    For most customer service call centers, efficiency (and thus bonuses) is measured in calls taken per hour. Therefor it seems to be in the best interest of the customer service agent to get you to go away. 

    We can not do this in our sales, or support process. We must give the customer all the time they possible need to discuss solutions and ask questions. The more we promote that, the happier our customers will be with the results. 
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    Margecam52Margecam52 subscriber Posts: 0

    I worked in customer service for over 25 years.  I now have a quilting  and used household merchandise business.  I also consider these to be customer service businesses, without top notch customer service, we have no repeat business, and then NO business. 
    My website is hosted with 1 and 1. com
    I have been with them for about 4 years & have had no problems (that I didn`t instigate myself).  Customer service is above board.  I had allowed my daughter to add a website to a domain on my account.  Somehow she erased my information, so being the domain diva (LOL) I was, I uploaded my site again...actually uploaded an entire hard drive!  Called 1and1 customer support at 1:00 am...the tech stayed online with me to get a single page working...then proceeded to have me load it several times more (making sure I knew how to do it, as they had changed the procedure)...then looked at the domain...I made his week... entire hard drive online...a first for him...took me 4 hours to delete the domain...the tech gave me his extension number after staying online with me over 2 hours waiting for the site to delete... I called him back...and he stayed online while I uploaded the site I wanted, and made sure I had it correct.  That is excellent customer service...the charge...none...1and1 provides customer support along with the cost of the packages.  the 12.00 a month I pay for my domain is well worth the customer support alone, much less all that I received with my package. 
    We give above average customer support in our businesses also.  We offer exchange or refund if an appliance does not work as we say it will.  We are only open 3 days a week, but our customer`s know that if they need something right away, or if they want to come browse, we are only 5 minutes away & unless we are ill, or not nearby, we will open the store just for them.  This works well for our small community & for my quilting business, as it is presently out of my home & not yet in the storefront.  It also works for the customers, as they work odd hours & we are willing to deal with them on their terms.  Above and beyond for a small community 2nd hand store?  Probably, but we have a steady customers.   
    In my quilting business I try to do whatever I can to make my customer`s happy, and have not had anything but complements.  If you don`t give good CS, you can kiss your business goodbye.

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    SandraPSandraP subscriber Posts: 3
    Oh, this brings back nightmares! I used to work for UPS Teleservices supporting UPS`s web based shipping services. Sweetebee you summed it all up perfectly! I left because I am one of those "older folks" who just couldn`t handle the short sighted vision. For me it wasn`t a matter of whether the company would survive their poor customer service policies it was a matter of doing the right thing by the customer. Gee, what a concept!
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    joelblakleyjoelblakley subscriber Posts: 0
    This is an amazing story.  I too have spent most of my career working in the customer service industry.  I`ve run call centers as small as 20 and as large as 600.  I now am the CSO for Business Credit Services. 
    Why has customer service become a lost art for so many companies?  The answer is simple.  Most companies haven`t built the two largest success factors into their business:  Empowerment and Accountability.  If you start by empowering your customer service reps to actually do what it takes to resolve a customer`s issue and be accountable for the results, you WILL have a successful customer experience.  Most companies hire their reps at the lowest possible wage.  This looks good for the bottom line, but in the long run it costs you in both lost customer revenue and the number of staff it takes to resolve easy customer issues. 
    When I was a consultant, I would be hired to to figure out why a company`s service was poor. In almost every case it was the quality of the people on the front lines and the level of empowerment they were given to resolve an issue.  To many companies made their reps follow the Standard Operating Procedures to the letter.  They could not do what needed to be done to fix common customer complaints.  This resulted in them "passing the buck" to another person and their customers feel like hockey pucks being bounced between departments.  Every single time you bounce a customer to another person, you lose rapport with them.  Every bounce is another opportunity to let them slip through the cracks. 
    In almost every consulting engagement, I`ve been able to show companies that they can pay a bit more for their employees and empower them to resolve their customers issues.  They`ve saved this cost by being able to reduce their "tier 2" people that receive customer service escalations. 
    The hard fact is, most companies never look at what it really takes to deliver oustanding service. Customer Service is a cost center for them and they want to deliver it as inexpensively as possible.  What they don`t realize is the key to keeping a customer for life is your front line reps. 
    joelblakley4/4/2008 5:03 PM
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    SCVS800SCVS800 subscriber Posts: 1
    I don`t think poor customer service is infused by the company to the employees.  I believe it is a function of the hiring practices of the company.  Companies that pride themselves on stellar customer service are guaranteed to reflect this in their hiring practices.  Good customer service starts in the person answering the phone.
    Regards,SCVS8004/11/2008 5:02 PM
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    MrbusinessMrbusiness subscriber Posts: 8
    CS is tough, but you have to be good to understand your customer.
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    ShoulderTreeShoulderTree subscriber Posts: 0
    Customer service when it comes to business (regardless if your the owner or not) should be a no-brainer.  In my opinion, you really can`t be "doing" business if your not "doing" customer service and the reflection of your companies growth and perception to others is based upon how well your "doing" customer service.
    I know this sounds elementary and unfortunately it is but so many companies don`t seem to grasp it.  We are in business for a reason and that is delivering a product or products or providing some level of service.  Amazingly ... these BOTH require customer interaction which requires customer service. 
    Our customers are golden.  By simply taking care of your current customers, keeping them informed, and actually caring about them and how they impact your establishment can and will save you loads of money in marketing.  People don`t realize the gem they sit on when they have a list of happy customers in their database. 
    I honestly believe what you see these days is a number game and is why we get the level of poor service from so many.  Let me explain some.
    Since someone mentioned web hosting earlier - lets say HostCompany began to build their company and customer service was key to get started.  As they grew they began to focus more of their energy on growth and not on customer service.  Their client count grew and continues to grow daily but they are loosing more and more of the past clients and are beginning to loose current clients.  However, with their marketing to a target audience, they continue to pull in more clients daily the far out numbers the clients leaving so they don`t see it as a loss because they continue to grow.
    I see this every day and it is said but so true.  My only comment is - if this HostCompany would have focused some energy on ensuring their customers are happy, they might not have to spend so much marketing.  Word of Mouth can bring in double what marketing can AND bring in the quality of customers companies would die to have.  Customers that care as much as the company does about them and generally want to see the company they are with prosper.
    Again - I think good customer service can be taught but it is something that is in you.  It is a way of life and reflects how you treat others in day to day interaction.  Customer service should be our very basic of instinct on interactions with others however it isn`t.
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    mahriyahmahriyah subscriber Posts: 2

    it drives me crazy...I am the complete opposite of these reps, and always get reprimanded for "helping the customer"...

    It`s sad that their aren`t more customer service reps like you. Good customer service goes a long way and it`s really unfortunate that more and more companies these days are really lacking in this department.
    MariaMy linkmahriyah11/26/2008 12:53 PM
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    Margecam52Margecam52 subscriber Posts: 0
    I worked in the customer service field for over 25 years.  Started in telemarketing (calling for a charity), then on to fabric & other retailers, lastly as a CSR for a major knock-down furniture manufacturer.
    1. Every call you get as a customer service person (unless you are in sales department) is a complaint call...someone is not getting the service they think they deserve (and they are usually correct).
    2. As a CSR, you are usually the first "real" body in the company that the customer deals with (they probably got their product/service at a retail outlet).
    3.  By the time they get to you, they are already frustrated, as they couldn`t fix the problem themselves.
    5. If you aren`t the first person they spoke to in your company...then they  are REALLY frustrated!
    The job of a customer service person is one of the most stressfull out there.  You must put yourself in the place of the customer.  Once I let the owner of the RTA furniture company know this, he immediately let everyone know that if I decided to overnight a missing/damaged part, no matter the reason (even if the consumer lost/broke it in assembly)...our main objective was to set it right.  Costly? Yes...worth it, YES!!! 
    JCPenny, Lowe`s, and other major retail outlets knew that if they had a customer with a need, we would fill it quickly, no questions asked...the result?  Much larger orders from the retail giants. 
    I left the company due to 911 (they bought most of the personell out).  That left one employee who had NO knowledge of the products (nor wanted to know) to answer calls & send orders out... They decided to have all calls go to voicemail, and instructions stated to fax, email or leave a voicemail... and parts were sent regular ground mail..rarely any ups or faster shipping.
    Result?  The company never recovered.  JCP, Sam`s Club, Lowes, and Home Depot (among many other smaller companies) dropped them, bad customer service was touted as the reason.
    This is a company that was in business for over 108 years doing wood products.  They are now defunct, other than making low end cabinets out of pressed wood (instead of the 100% white pine we had used). 
    If you are looking for ways to improve sales...have excellent customer service available...it will increase your sales, even if your pricing is a bit higher than other companies...people will pay a bit more for exceptional service.
    Marge Campbell
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