We have long advocated that organizations should take great care in the selection, training, and apportioning of responsibility to customer facing employees. And, that the organization should do everything possible to prevent those staffers from being placed in the line of fire of customers who are unnecessarily angered by internal systemic defects. No rocket science there.
Two days ago I sent a problem note to Comcast via their website about our recent experience with extremely slow Internet service. And, as usual, got a note telling me that, “We have received your e mail and thank you for using Comcast’s online email support. One of our Comcast customer support representatives will get back to you, yada, yada.”
A few minutes ago, I answered a phone call from Comcast. It quickly became apparent that the caller knew nothing about my service issue, but was intent on selling me a more “valuable” service bundle. About a half minute into her spiel when she came up for air the first time, I politely cut her off and declined the offer. Then, I told the representative about my service problem and asked if perhaps she could help me with that. “Oh, no sir, you have to call 1-800-COMCAST.” You can’t help me, I asked again? “No sir, you have to call 1-800-COMCAST.” Click.
Here’s a suggestion. Maybe it’s my imagination, but it seems of late that most organizations are heavily in “dumbing down mode” and thus hell-bent on communicating and managing via an ever-increasing number of internal policies and rules. Perhaps we’re just too tired to think.
Though as recently as this morning, in a Fresh Milk article we have pleaded with leaders to avoid the perils of an over-moderated, under-led workforce, here’s a new policy that I think every (repeat, every) organization should adopt: No matter how it comes about, if you become aware of a customer problem, you own it. Translation: You are responsible for telling the customer that you will help them, finding the right person internally to deal with the matter, and then closing the loop with the customer. My guess is that customer service gets a lot better (from the customer’s vantage point) and the greater benefit just might be that everyone is reminded a little more frequently where their paycheck comes from. What do you think?
Now, as for Comcast, I’m still waiting.
A thought leader in the arena of leadership and employee engagement, Bill Catlette is a seminar leader, keynote speaker, and executive coach. He helps individuals and organizations improve business outcomes by having a focused, engaged, capably led workforce. For more information about Bill, his partner Richard Hadden, and their work, please visit their website at www.contentedcows.com, or follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ContentedCows