Customer Service: Use Your Tools

When dealing with established organizations, it is amazing to see how some of them fail to use the tools that are not just at their disposal, but literally right in front of them.

This past week I received notification from my bank that they needed to replace my Debit card, due to something on their end. Ok, it is an inconvenience, but not the worst thing in the world. I went through the process, and expected to get the card the next day. As you might have guessed, that didn’t happen. So, I called. The person on the phone was nice enough, telling me I needed to wait longer, and if it didn’t come, to call back. So, after waiting longer, I called. This person told me I had to wait 3 days, after confirming that the expected delivery date was that day. Then she said she couldn’t do anything for me (No… she literally told me she couldn’t do anything for me), I would have to call back the next day.

So I called the next day. This person said the package was delivered to the wrong address, and I would have to call back later. So I called….

In all, I spoke to over 10 people in a 3 day period, and not one of them was consistent in what I was told. It got so bad that I had to tell them the information to which they had access. In addition, some of them chose to authenticate me, others did not… It doesn’t seem surprising that they had some issues in their internal controls.

Here’s the big key: Each person with whom I spoke had at their disposal my record. Within their CRM system was every call, every transaction and every open case in my umpteen year history. Once authenticated, each person should have been able to look up the information and address me with the knowledge I needed to resolve my situation very quickly. However, because of their inconsistency and lack of using the tools in front of them, they made it very complicated, and it took 3 times as long for me to get what I needed (actually, it was more like 5 times as long).

Ironically, they were very consistent in their script. They were always “very happy to help“, always thankful “that I authenticated in their system“, and “sorry for any inconvenience“. Companies, however can do so much more by teaching their service personnel to use their CRM to actually review what is going with a customer, instead of only having canned responses that the customer doesn’t believe.

Business News Daily published their list of the best CRM tools for small businesses. Whether your business is small or large, you can benefit by having a robust CRM application that can be used by all service personnel… but it has to be more than that. Companies have to be just as diligent in the practice of the use of the tool – more diligent than they are of the adherence to the script. The more consistent the service personnel are in the use of the tools, the more consistent and efficient they will be with the information they give to the customer (had the first person I spoke with given me a tracking number, I would not have had to speak to another person).

Customer Service personnel take dozens, if not hundreds of calls per day, and are tasked with limiting the time they are on the phone with the customer, so they reduce the cost of doing business to the company. By using the tools in front of their service personnel, my bank could have reduced their CODB dramatically by ensuring I did not have to call back over 10 times.

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