Here are some customer service do’s and don’ts that I’ve noticed over recent months – and unfortunately, it appears to be cross corporate. There must be a company out there training sales teams and urging call centres to stick to a script, ensuring minimal accountability and responsibility.
For example, how do you feel about apologies that start with ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’. Is this an apology? What if I told you that the person making the statement is the one causing the upset? Now would you accept such a statement as an apology? I have to say, if you cause me to have an upset, and then make the above-mentioned so-called apologetic statement, you will not be my flavour of the month!
Case in point: The other week I was put through to an Apple Call Centre by my mobile service provider. I’m a geek and I love Apple iPhones, I also love design, so Apple is one of my favourite companies. You will probably agree with me that Apple is a wonderful company for producing product designs that make you want to make a purchase. The call centre person I spoke with promised a phone swap, since my phone was under guarantee. I got the ‘How does that sound?’ statement and I replied – sounds good to me!
So when I received an empty box in the mail the next day, it because obvious that they expected me to send them the phone for repair. This is not what was agreed! Needless to say, I was not happy.
Several calls and over two hours later, after being passed from person to person, I kept getting the same scripted response. Apple’s policies are very clear – it has to be a repair and you will be without your business phone for several days. No-one asked me at this point ‘How does that sound?!’ because they gauged what my reaction would be. Each person I spoke to, regardless of their tier level, was not concerned with the fact that the first person I spoke with had promised a new phone. I was even asked ‘How would you like us to resolve this issue.’ When I said ‘Be your word and do as promised’ they assured me that this was not possible. I was even told by one person that the recording could not be listened to by a colleague as it would invoke privacy issues (!). Is this GDPR gone mad? What has happened to my beloved Apple? This interaction was ruining my image of the Big Apple!
Since design is not the only reason people purchase products, I would argue that warranties and after service are just as important. I would rather have a slightly less appealing product with excellent after care, than a product with after case I cannot rely on.
So in short, do not ask a client ‘How would you like us to resolve this issue’ if you are going to ignore their reasonable request.
Do not say ‘Sorry you feel that way’ when you are causing the upset! Don’t cause the upset in the first place, or if you did, make it right. Be your word! And if you are going to make an apology, make it a real one!