Friday, August 26, 2011

Customer What?

This morning I heard a story about bad customer service. You know what that is.... in fact, many people are probably more familiar with bad customer service than they are with good customer service. So I wondered....what is it about customer service that makes it so difficult to get right? Surely it's not that hard to hire people who are polite, friendly, and who genuinely want to create a positive experience for and interaction with their customers.

Unfortunately, it seems to come down to individuals. Some individuals will bend over backwards and go out of their way completely to make sure a customer is happy. Others clearly won't, and seem just not to care. A recent experience with Telstra provided me with examples of both within the same 35 minute (!!!!) phone call.

After my husband having to ring Telstra to have me added as an "authorised" on our account for the SECOND time (no problem with once, but when it's already been done and they've spoken to me many times previously, "um, hello, look at the notes on the account" it makes me cross), I finally was able to speak to someone about an internet bill that was higgledy-piggledy. To begin with, the first person I spoke to spent an entire 15 minutes asking me to read out the account number, then to read it out again, then telling me that no, that's not correct, i must be reading the wrong account number. Can't I see it? It's at the top right hand of the page. By this stage, having read out the account number AND the mobile number associated with the account possibly 5 times, I was beginning to get rather agitated because in fact, I am not an idiot, I can read where it says in bold letters ACCOUNT NUMBER. She then asked me t he bill number. Apparently this is also a bill number that doesn't exist, and I must be reading the wrong thing. Was this in fact my first bill for this account? Despite me having told her that I had two bills in front of me, both with the same account number, and yes, in the same place at that.

Thankfully, she then put me on hold, and without saying a word, put me through to another "customer service operator." This person admitted right up front that they were unable to help with this kind of account (honesty that I appreciated by this stage), and put me on hold while they found somebody who could help me. Finally, I found someone who spent 5 minutes talking to me about the bill, what had happened, and put me on hold while he worked out what to do. Apparently in this time, he spoke with another colleague who is an expert in these accounts (who would have thought a wireless internet account could be such a challenge?), and whilst I was on hold for longer than I was expecting, when he came back to me, he apologised for the extra wait, but he had wanted to make sure he had a solution.

So, after $10 a month telstra credit to account for the difference in what I was TOLD I would be getting initially, fixing the current bill, telling me the new amount to pay and generally being pleasant to talk to, what started off as a negative experience turned into a completely positive one. The lovely guy apologised for the wait, apologised that the mistake had been made in the first place, and made sure I understand what was happening next.

Surely, that's not so difficult?


Ozgirl said...

Telstra's system is up the creek, i don't know why they have made it so hard - but i have def experienced what you describe on numerous occasions!

I refuse to deal with them for personal stuff sadly I have to in a professional capacity and it puts me on edge all day!

Tandy said...

I was trying to clarify a why my credit card was charged early for my Ambulance membership, and the woman on the other end of the line was just plain rude. I GET to ask the same question a couple of times (firstly because you're not even explaining it the same way every time). She asked me "what is so difficult?"
"May I speak to your supervisor?"