Customer is more than a service ticket number.

Service organizations have vision statements that promise the moon about their customer service. But when it comes to actual delivery they are nowhere closer to it.

In the last six months, I had many unpleasant customer experiences with an Indian Telecom company. As a customer,  I suffered because of the company’s system break down. The company is a reputed brand in the Indian Telecom industry. I have been their loyal customer for past several years.

The problem started with frequent disconnection of internet and broadband services. At times the problem lasted for more than a day. It then started occurring on weekends and would last for several days.

For three consecutive weeks, I reported the problem to their customer care number. I would get a customer service ticket number but no solution.  The responses looked scripted and given to the frontline staff to use for all such complaints. Every call left me frustrated. I finally escalated the problem to their senior leadership team. Problem resolved after several follow ups.

While the dust was still settling on the resolution of my broadband services, the company presented me with another issue. In August 2016, I had changed my landline billing plan.  I received an email confirmation and an SMS message informing me of the activation of my new billing plan and billing cycle. They impressed me with their prompt information.

My happiness was short lived. To my horror, the new plan was never updated in the system despite their confirmation. They continued to charge me as per the old plan which was on higher side.

I was furious and called up the customer support number. The service representative initially was not willing to admit the mistake. In my entire experience, executives reflect the customer care representative would never resolve my problem. They would just issue a service ticket. This frustrated me even more.

Customer Service 

Frontline the company’s customer service culture. Their efficiency in  resolving customer issues reflect the seriousness of the organization’s efforts towards customer experience.

In the internet world when your competitor is just a mouse click away, customer service and experience should be a key differentiator. It leaves one wondering on the training imparted to the front line staff. Are they equipped with the right set of tools and skills? Does leadership check if their staff is delivering the right quality of customer experience? Or are they just trained to issue a customer service ticket?

Every employee can make or break the customer experience. Those at the customer care centers and frontline staff contribute significantly to building or damaging customer experience.

Customer focused thinking

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”- Jack Welch

I was curious to look at the vision statement for this Telecom company. It read as follows “Our vision is to enrich the lives of our customers. Our obsession is to win customers for life through an exceptional experience “

A company claiming to have an obsession for providing exceptional customer experience would live and breathe customer experience. But from my personal experience with the company, these sounded like hollow words.

The company front line staff was making a mockery of those words. This also reflected on the leadership and company management.

My cumulative experience across many touch points in this company was bad. Each interaction with the service providers customer care and technical staff was frustrating. I would get different responses for the same problem from different people in the company. They worked in silos. And this was more frustrating.

Customer Experience 

Gartner defines customer experience as: “The customer’s perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier’s employees, channels, systems or products”

It is unlikely that any customer would like to do business with a company that does not bother in providing a superior customer experience.

Thus it becomes important that companies invest in improving their customer experience. Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50% of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations.

There are several customer experience projects that companies invest in. But the key is to focus on building capabilities and embedding customer focus in the organization culture.

In the digital world, customers like to interact with their vendors through several channels. But the traditional voice channel still remains the most satisfying. I would like the customer care agent to listen to me, hear my problem and resolve it.

How about you, do you prefer the customer care to just give you a service ticket. Or do you prefer a customer care person who listens to you and helps you with the solution? What in your view is the most satisfying customer experience? How are companies achieving it in the digital world?

Love to know your views. Thank you for providing your comments.

Leave a Reply