In the past month I spent close to 9 hours with support representatives from a couple of companies with whom I’ve had issues with. One is Sprint and the other is Dell.
While 9 hours in a month doesn’t seem like a lot, believe me it’s a lot. When I was in high school I worked at a call center as a tech support representative for Verizon Wireless, so believe me when I say that spending a lot of time on the phone trying to resolve an issue is incredibly annoying for both the customer and the support representative. Especially when you (the customer) doesn’t get the issue resolved. As a support representative you can either make a customers day or you can become the focus of their anger.
One question I ask representatives all the time, which they have no idea how to answer, is: Why do I have to repeat myself every time I’m transferred from one representative to the other?
Wouldn’t it be easier if the first person you talk to took your information, entered it onto ‘the system’ once and it remained there for everyone to access until your matter is solved? This way the next person who gets to talk to you knows what’s going on before you even open your mouth. No seriously, we’ve got the technology to do it we just need someone to start acting differently and do it. Zappos has figured this out and does it in their own kind of way!
Believe me when I say that people take these calls for granted. As customers we know that whenever we call customer support we’re probably going to spend a good amount of time on the phone. What if you (the biz) broke this expectation and actually made it less annoying when we call? Customers are annoyed before they even call!
The issue I had with Dell also got me thinking about the element of time. I was without my laptop for 2 weeks and more is coming because another hardware issue came with the fix so I have to send it back. As I was telling my friend Arnold Beekes about it he suggested that Dell should have provided me with a temporary laptop while mine was being fixed, similar to how car dealerships do when you bring your car in for a check up.
These are the types of things that make a difference in the customer experience but some companies don’t figure it out until it’s too late. What if companies got annoyed when they felt they’ve wasted their customers time? What type of behaviors would emerge? In what ways would their business strategy change? How would their business model change?
Personally the issue of wasting people’s time does not sit well with me, so whenever I feel others (can be company or person) are wasting my time it annoys me. It also works the other way, if I feel that I’m wasting your time it bothers me.
My point is that time is such a precious resource and if you (the biz) mindlessly waste the customers time, you are ignoring a valuable opportunity to exceed their expectations because now more than ever we are more time constrained; we have more activities vying for out attention. If you can make the time customers do spend with you more valuable, you will make a small difference in their lives and that really matters 🙂
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