A few weeks back I received a call from an advocate’s office asking me to visit the court with regards to a civil case filed against me. This took me by surprise and when asked for more details, the caller did not provide any or did not have any. On further investigation, I found that the dispute was regarding a bill settlement (of a leading internet service provider), which I had cleared six months ago and asked for discontinuation of services. Despite a busy day at work and because this call was quite unsettling to me, I called the customer center, visited one of the walk-in stores and tried to explain myself. To my surprise, even after understanding my entire case, none of the agents were willing to help! All I got was another number of some customer advocate team to reach out to. Why should I be calling when I have settled what was asked???
Nevertheless, I went ahead and dialed the so-called ‘Customer advocate team’ only to explain myself all over again and to receive a list of action items from them. This did not go down too well with me and I called up a friend, who also happens to be a corporate lawyer, for consultation. He asked me if I would like to file a defamation or harassment case against the company. While I did not go that way, I ensured I write aggressively about this on my blog and other social platforms.
Today, I received another call. This was a special one! An agent called up apologizing for the entire incident (After reading my posts and mentions). But to my disbelief and disappointment, he asked – ‘Could you please explain the issue?’ I did not bother explaining myself and just gave the subscriber id. But out of sheer interest and curiosity, asked him the details of the applications and processes they have in place and drew the below grid:
|My Issues/ What I said||Their Processes/What they said|
|‘I have cleared the pending amount please discontinue my internet connection’||Information was not passed to the correct department although captured in the system.‘The services are not discontinued on customer’s request until a feedback call is received Since I did not get any confirmation call from the service provider, my services were assumed to be continued’|
|I kept getting calls every month and I had to explain myself over and over again||The payment due department is different and has nothing to do with the customer support department|
|I sent the final settlement and other interaction emails several times, I had to follow up to ensure a closure and did not receive any confirmation back.||‘Not sure what happened, We are sorry about it. Can you clear your pending dues to ensure you don’t have to visit the court?!’|
|Reluctantly called Customer advocate team hoping to get some positive action||‘Fill up the details on a form, Send it by post to xyz address, we will take it up from there’|
|Blogged about it||Another team handling social platforms called to ask more details|
Is this how you are handling today’s customer?
We are deep in the age of the Customer where the speed at which people decide or react or engage has increased manifolds, and if you are not willing to acknowledge this fact you are choosing to be oblivion.
Let’s see some ‘qualities’ (that you may not like) you could attribute to today’s modern customer, some stats around it and the cause and effect.
“Gone are the days when everybody watched prime-time news or series at the same time or did financial transactions during banking hours”
I was going through an annual internet trends report collated and presented by KPCB (Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers) and some stats given below are worth noticing. Below slide gives a projection of the data that would be shared socially worldwide.
Earlier interactions used to be between individuals, if a consumer had a concern, they would have shared with the supplier or service provider but imagine a bad feedback with mentions of your organization being posted by one individual but read and shared by others exponentially.
“A bad feedback once given, always remains. Thanks to SEO it keeps coming up on search results”
The numbers are indicative enough of changing times. The questions one needs to ask are:
- Is your Service Organisation Modern enough?
- Are you available for your customer wherever and whenever your customer wants you to be?
- Are you putting your money at the right place? Training the right people? Using the right applications?
- Are you operating a cost center or a profit center?
- Are you providing a multichannel experience?
- Is Multichannel enough?
For example, let’s see the progress of a service organization or contact center. I will also try to relate to what my service provider did not do or could have done.
A study conducted by Aberdeen Group in March 2014 highlights the business value addition with the implementation of an Omnichannel experience. The numbers below from this report should be incentive enough in adopting this change.
AT CRMIT Solutions, the consultant’s team agrees with this business benefit of Customer Experience Management and is equipped to deliver it. Oracle Service Cloud applications provide best in class unified Omnichannel experience and our CRM++ products seamlessly integrate to enhance the utility even further.
As for my Internet service provider, I tried sending my business card to, I am hoping they think about getting to this level pretty soon or they would be left pretty far behind.