Your Call Is Important To Us…IF You Pay Us 50p

27th Aug 2014

“Your call is important to us, please hold and we will connect you to the next available agent.”

Does that sound familiar to you? So many of us have spent countless hours pressing various buttons only to be told that we are 100th in the queue but that our call is very important. With many companies’ customer service in the social media spotlight, how can they be sure they are achieving the customer service levels required of them – and is it really possible to achieve this over the phone?

Everything Everywhere or Everything for 50p?

Mobile telecoms company EE (currently the umbrella under which Orange, T-Mobile and 4GEE brands are situated) has caused a stir amongst its customers with its new Priority Answer service that allows customers to jump telephone queues for a 50p charge. The brand has come under fire from customers who say their loyalty is being tested and that the name Everything Everywhere does not apply to everyone everywhere. The company maintains that the money charged to customers for skipping the queue is to be invested back into the customer service department allowing for more to be spent on returning call centres to the UK from their current overseas locations and to creating more jobs which in turn means more people to deal with customer queries and complaints.

Whether this charge works in the company’s favour or whether it serves to alienate loyal customers who feel they are being marginalised if they do not use the Priority Answer service remains to be seen…

Comcast Causes Customer Kerfuffle

From charging to have the call answered sooner to not having the call answered at all now, as Comcast customers take to social networking platforms to voice their displeasure at the shocking lack of care and attention given to callers. One caller was left on hold for three hours, only to find out by the end of his wait that the offices had closed and all representatives had gone home. Another customer who was lucky enough to get through wanted to cancel his contract with Comcast only to receive a barrage of aggressive selling techniques trying to stop him from cancelling.

The company was flabbergasted at the level of customer service given to these two particular customers and apologised profusely. However, due to the huge presence social media has, the damage to the company’s reputation may have already been done. Unfortunately companies who do not pay enough attention to the training and attitude of their customer service representatives as well as the mediums through which they offer customer service, will have people take to the nearest and most effective platforms with which to air their frustrations.

Changing Customers Call For Changing Service

So how is it possible to avoid customer grievances and, if they are unavoidable, what mediums can you incorporate into your business to help you deal with them? By 2018, it is expected that one in every seven pounds spent in Britain will be spent online; this shows a huge move from traditional in-store buying to comfortable and accessible home shopping. If businesses are able to trade online then they should be able to manage customers online and the customers themselves expect this.

Idle Chit Chat

Having online chat capabilities is a huge benefit for most e-commerce businesses as it allows them immediate one on one communication with customers as opposed to lengthy queues and foreign call centres which only serve to frustrate customer who, up until that moment, had received quick and easy service via online sites.

E-commerce site owner Andy Crathorne of Car Camera Shop agrees with the idea of an immediate online presence for his customers:

“Through live chat, email, telephone, or via our ticketing system customers can get in touch in many ways. Around 40% of our customers talk to us before ordering so having technical sales staff is vital to getting our customers the best camera for them.”

Forty percent is a huge amount and likely reduces incoming customer service calls after purchase as well.

With the advancements made in online technology in recent years, consumers are able to buy items directly and quickly but this has made them more demanding. Whereas in previous years, long telephone queues and automated messages were the norm, nowadays we do not expect to wait and certainly do not expect to pay money to have our query answered quicker! It is surprising that more companies have not caught up with the commerce side of their business by matching the quality of products sold to the quality of service offered.

Until this changes on a larger scale though, previously loyal customers may find themselves transferring their business elsewhere.


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