According to a survey conducted in Australia in 2008, 42 percent of respondents said their suppliers could not adequately solve their problems, while another 20 percent had issues with inexperienced staff manning their calls. The survey reported that six out of 10 consumers had changed supplier in the past year. I am not surprised – service providers in my country seem to be equally bad when it comes to customer service.
I have the same service provider for my fixed line (yes, I do use a fixed line at home ) and mobile phone. For some time now it has been impossible to call my mobile phone from my fixed line. Dutifully I lodged a complaint with the service provider. Within a couple of days I got a call from their customer service.
“Your problem has been fixed, sir. Can I close the ticket ? ” asked a polite voice from the other end. “As far I know the problem has not been fixed, and no please do not close the ticket,” was my response. Whereupon customer rep tried to convince me why the problem was with my mobile phone. “How do you know ?” I asked him. “I had to call your mobile number multiple times, from our land line, before I could get through,” promptly came the response.
This is a classic case of a vendor or customer service department being concerned about their statistics and not about the customer. Even though the customer service rep himself had experienced the problem that I had reported, he felt it was best to identify a “new” problem and treat the earlier problem as “addressed.” It did not concern him that my —the customer’s— problem had not been addressed at all.
Of course in this case, the fixed line and the mobile service business are two separate business units of the company. By fixing the blame on the mobile phone, the fixed line business was essentially making its problem someone else’s. The customer was the victim again! And this from the customer service department of the telecom company! Talk about how not to build a relationship with your customers! In an attempt to not let this drag me down, I have attempted to draw some lessons for all of us in customer facing roles.
Lesson#1 Processes and statistics are a means to improve our business operations. They should not become our end business goals.
Lesson #2 Customers are smart. They can usually see through our tricks. When that happens our businesses might have to pay a very heavy price. It is best that we try and avoid such incidences.
As for my service provider, I am making sure that I share this (less than satisfactory) experience with everyone I know.