13 Ways to Make Your 1-800 Customer Support Not Suck
Let’s face it, the purpose of 1-800 customer support lines are to do everything possible to prevent you from getting customer service. Companies have come to the conclusion (erroneously I think) that somehow talking to customers is a bad thing. They base this belief on the fact that every time they talk to you, it costs them money. That may have made some sense back in the olden days and I would argue that avoiding conversations with your customers is unwise and potentially risky. Why do you want to talk to your customers?
- Customer feedback, when aggregated, can give insight on common problems they face with your product, business, website, etc. In a sense, each conversation becomes its own focus group study. Who wouldn’t want feedback from the very people that are buying and using their products and services? At the very least, it gives the company direction on what issues are most common, what they may need to correct, and in what priority.
- Message Control: If companies won’t provide the customer an outlet to reach them, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, and the hundred other social networks most certainly will. By having a simple and convenient way for me to contact you, I might just not tell my social networks how much I hate you. And inversely…
- My boyish naiveté often gets me in trouble but I have this weird belief that your job as a company doesn’t end after the sale, it begins. Fostering a positive relationship with your customers not only increases the chance of them doing more business with you, it creates an army of advocates of your company and brand that extend across those same networks they might have vented on. And believe me advocates work cheap (note: adversaries also work cheap and often with more vigor and venom)
So in the spirit of pretending to give a crap about providing your customers with good (Note: I didn’t even say ‘great’) customer service, here are the Top 12 Pieces of Advice for Companies that use 1-800 Customer Support Lines:
- Make your phone tree a phone shrub. If it takes me more than 30 seconds to get where I want to go, you’re doing it wrong.
- Don’t tell me that my call is important & then put me on hold for 17 minutes
- If the hold time is 17 minutes, don’t have a 1-800 line. Just send a guy over to punch me in the face, its less painful for me.
- If you insist on putting me on hold, tell me how long I’ll be on hold.
- When I am on hold, DON’’T hammer me with promotions or ads for your products. And for God’s sake don’t hammer me with Musak Hammer me with some Metallica. . Hint: Make my wait as entertaining or painless as possible.
- If I ask the same question everyone else asks, fix that problem until we don’t ask the question anymore, ok Sparky? Fix the most common problems and I guaran-effing-tee that we won’t call you as much.
- If your Operators name is Maruf and works in the Bangladesh Call Center, tell him not to say his name is “Bobby”. I’m good working with Maruf and your not fooling anyone.
- If my call gets dropped for any reason, call me back. Immediately. Sooner if possible.
- I should only have to give you my information once.
- I know I can find answers to your website, but right now I wanna talk to a person though. Make that simple to do.
- If you offer “Do It Yourself” products, make sure you have phone support on weekends. I mean when do you think most “Do It Yourself” projects are done?????
- Don’t grade your operators on how quickly they can get me off the phone, Grade them on my delighted they make me. Trust me this works.
- Extend you customer support model beyond the phone. If don’t offer chat or social media support you’re behind the digital curve. Email/Support Forms? C’mon, we all know that’s the black hole of customer service Hell and if you can’t get back to me with some kind of response within an hour don’t bother with it.
It’s really that easy. We aren’t asking for much. And if you do take care of us, we’ll take care of you.