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Sunday, May 19, 2024
Lifestyle

Press 1 For More Anger: Americans Are Fed Up With Customer service

A recent survey shows Americans are more unhappy with the customer service they’re getting than ever. The poor guy above has been on hold for 24 months (we assume — it’s a stock photo).

Who are they? The thousands of Americans voicing their discontent with customer service. You can find them on basically any Yelp page out there.

What’s the big deal? Well, there’s a lot of unhappy people out there.

So, what now?

“Today, we live in a society where the expectations are rising by the brands. Just think about the commercials. They promise you the world … and then the objective reality hits. And you try to reach customer service. And you are met with a bot. You are met with wait times … that’s really where the chasm is. This gap between expectations and objective reality just continues to get wider and wider.” 

What are people saying?

Tenumah is the author of Waiting for Service: An Insider’s Account of Why Customer Service is Broken and Tips to Avoid Bad Service. He’s also the founder of a management consulting firm, and spoke with NPR about what everyone seems to be unhappy with.

On how tech’s role often frustrates more than it optimizes:

I’ll tell you, Americans are incredibly gracious when they start. If it’s on a scale of 1 to 10, most people start at nine or nine and a half.  

But then you start this interaction and you’re met with an automated system — press one, press two — or a machine you’re trying to communicate with. They can’t understand you, or you’re met with a chatbot on the website, and then you get past that and then you give them your information.  

And then you finally get to a human, and the human asks you to repeat your information. Now, your grace started at nine. At this point you were like a four, and then, God forbid, they transfer you.  

By the time you are transferred, after dealing with the machine, repeating your information, you are at zero and lots of people are in the negative. This is now where the abuse and the rage really intensifies on the part of the customer.

On how worker empowerment makes a better experience for everyone: 

It’s still a human to human business. And so what I tell clients is first and foremost, your first customers are your service employees.  

Making sure they have the right tools, they are compensated appropriately, and your policies and procedures do not put them in the middle of you and the customer.  

So this is why I encourage these organizations to empower that professional. You’ve trained them. You’ve invested in them, so that when the customer makes a reasonable request, they can just fulfill it and they can be a hero. And the customer doesn’t have to ask for a manager and escalate in the calls and the emails get transferred in power.  

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“I usually say customer service is harder than rocket science. And the reason it’s harder is while there are formulas they can calculate [to] put a rocket on the moon, there is no formula for putting two strangers on the same phone call to resolve an issue.”

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