Is Your Customer Service Actually Your Customers’ Biggest Problem?

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Author David Towler

Deliver crappy customer service at your own peril!

Most, if not all, of us have to interact with someone’s customer service personnel every year and most (if not all) of us have a customer service horror story to relate about the inefficiencies and frustrations that resulted.

Last week I had to call Microsoft about software that simply didn’t work and which rendered my newly-purchased hardware completely useless. Their agents were all polite, but were totally incompetent. They asked repeatedly for information that had already been provided and were more concerned about following their scripts than listening to what I was telling them. After two and a half hours, 3 calls, 2 disconnections and 3 transfers to the wrong department I finally gave up and installed an older version of the software and resolved the problem myself. No one at Microsoft even suggested that solution and the two frustrating hours I’d spent trying to get assistance from them was just wasted time.

The biggest lie in business is “the customer is always right.” The phrase was popularised by department store magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1909. It advocated that customer complaints should be treated seriously so that customers not feel cheated or deceived. This attitude was novel and influential when misrepresentation was rife and caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) was a common attitude in business. However it was pointed out as early as 1914 that this view ignores that some customers can be dishonest, have unrealistic expectations, and/or try to misuse a product in ways that void the guarantee.

Here’s what consumers are saying about customer service:

• 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.
• A typical business hears from only 4% of its dissatisfied customers.
• News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.
• It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.
• For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent.
• 3 in 5 Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.
• 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with you again.

Customer’s Top Ten Complaints About Customer Service

1. Can’t get a human on the phone
2. Salesperson is rude or condescending
3. Being disconnected
4. Disconnected and unable to reach same rep
5. Transferred to representative who can’t help or is wrong
6. Company doesn’t provide—or hides—customer service phone number
7. Long wait on hold
8. Many phone steps needed
9. Repeatedly asked for same information
10. Proposed solution was useless

Anyone who’s in business knows that sometimes the customer is also just a jerk who can’t be trusted to sit the right way on a toilet without step-by-step instructions and some interpretive dance, but most of the time, it’s the service provider who is the problem. Although the customer may not always be right, they do always expect and deserve to get decent service from those who take their money. Companies who ignore this do so at their peril.

Buy A Test!

Not surprisingly, there are a plethora of screening tests available that accurately assess the skills and aptitudes of candidates for customer service roles. Unfortunately, it seems that a whole bunch of businesses out there don’t bother to use them – and it shows!

Why risk exacerbating the kinds of problems that people are already complaining about when you can do more to ensure that the people who interact with your customers are well suited to the job? Creative Organizational Design carries over 50 tests that are specific to or which include customer service measures. There are tests that will test for aptitude, attitude, pressure tolerance, customer service roles for in-bound/out-bound call centers, customer service roles in retail or hospitality environments, banking, healthcare and much more.

Some of them include titles like:

Applicant Potential Inventory
Banking Services Representative
Call Center Skills Test
Contact Center - eChat Support Agent
Customer Relations & Interpersonal Skills
Customer Service Applicant Inventory
Customer Service Skills Inventory
Hospitality Retail Associate
Insurance Customer Service Representative
Occupational: Customer Service
Telemarketing Applicant Inventory

Employers who don’t use tests and hire low-skilled, poorly suited individuals and then set them loose on customers to irritate, frustrate and anger them are doing themselves no favours and are costing themselves ten times more money in lost business than what a good test would have cost them from the outset.

If you think that all your customers love you, you’re probably wrong. If you’ve heard from two or three angry people then you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. The rest have simply said nothing and gone elsewhere. If a $20 test that keeps you from hiring someone else’s reject can save you $1000 in lost business then isn’t that a return on investment worth having?

If you agree, call us. We have a test for everything, especially customer service!

References:

75 Customer Service Facts, Quotes & Statistics

Top Customer Service Complaints

Biggest Customer Service Complaints: Do These Sound Familiar?

The customer is always right

Creative Organizational Design has 100s of assessment tools designed to help employers screen out other people's rejects, assess skills, aptitude, attitude and 'fit' within an organization. For more information about the options available and help selecting the best tools for your needs please contact us. David Towler is President of Creative Organizational Design, a firm offering nearly 40 years of expertise specializing in employee assessments and which has over 2000 different product titles available. Please send comments about this article to dtowler@creativeorgdesign.com. For more information, please contact us.

Re-printable with permission.