Outsourcing and Call Center Blog

18 October, 2007

Call Centre Hell

Filed under: Bad,Call Center,Customer Service — shamrin @ 12:47

You know I would really prefer to talk about great moments in customer service here rather than dwell on the negatives. But this blog entry from Rajan Sodhi in the BIG Marketing for Small Business blog is eye popping. In it, he describes how he had to wait in a call queue for well over an hour on three successive occasions to change a ticket on Expedia Canada. Is this the level to which customer service has sunk in North America? I remember many years ago when I moved to Sweden how we used to talk about the amazing level of customer service that we got in America and compare it to the relatively poor levels around Europe. But you know, even my bank back in the UK answers my call within a few rings.

I also note, as if to add insult to injury, Expedia blame the delay on “high security standards”. Huh? What are they talking about? Hang on, let me get my Erlang tables out of the drawer here and see where to account for “high security”. This seems like the double-whammy to me, treat your customer poorly then lie to him about the reasons. Shame.

31 August, 2007

Owning the problem

Filed under: Bad,Customer Service,India,Standard Chartered — shamrin @ 17:47

Today’s example of poor customer service comes from Standard Chartered Bank here in India. I have to admit I’ve not had a good track record with these guys, I’ve lost count of how many times their Call Center agents have simply dropped my call when asked a hard question. But today I think we got a teachable point. I had ordered a new debit card over the phone, it was meant to be delivered to my local branch but I went into the bank to pick up my new debit card I was told by the customer service executive that the card was not in the bank. I asked him to look it up in the computer and he verified that the card had been issued and that my account had been debited for the cost of my “privileged” gold card. Then he did something that I think was rather amazing, he handed the problem back to me. When I asked what was next, he didn’t get on the phone and try to find out where the card was, or double-check the bank’s records or really even think about it that much, he just told me, “Well, you’ll have to call the customer support line and sort it out with them.”

The teachable point is that if you work for the bank, or the ISP or the Wal-Mart or whatever organisation you are a part of and whether you are in a call center or on site, never, never, never hand a problem back to a customer. Like it or not, when a customer gives you his problem, you’re stuck with it, solve the problem or find someone who can solve the problem and stick with it until the customer is satisfied.

As it turns out, my card was in the bank but I only found this out after being sent to another branch, then returning to the original one to insist that the card was there. I realise that banks these days aren’t known to be the paragon’s of helpfulness but these guys at Standard Chartered wrote the book on bad service. No one ever said they were sorry or gave any explanation.

Update: See Standard Chartered Revisited entry for more on this. 

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