Service, are you getting any?

December 14, 2010 - 6 minutes read

Quotable quote:

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” Aristotle

This is a story about chalk and cheese. The customer service message is I’m sure one you have heard before however it really brings home the importance of systems that support the front line.

Recently I wanted to upgrade my Internet service to be able to get faster broadband. The challenge in my area is that poor quality infrastructure was put in place and as a result no one in our suburb – which is located about 20 minutes from the CBD – can get ADSL2.

I contacted iiNet whose service was terrific, and immediately arranged for a technician to visit our home to see if ADSL2 might be available for us. I was kept well-informed. Unfortunately switching over meant that we would lose the phone number that we have had nearly 20 years. I think land lines are a dying breed however my partner didn’t want to lose the number.

So I tried to contact Telstra. I spent 50 minutes without success attempting to get through to their call centre. From comments on Twitter this seems to be a very common occurrence.

Frustrated I went to a Telstra shop nearby, preceded to buy a T hub and a T-Box on an all-inclusive plan. This was the easiest part of the process and the service was very good.

The T-Hub is a small flat screen Internet enabled phone device. I had connected this unit up following the instructions, and the unit would not charge. So I went back to the retail store and was able to confirm it was the charger cable, not the unit. They were unable to provide a replacement or accept returns and was given a specialist number to contact.

After getting through and speaking with the service person they indicated that the only thing they could do was to send an entire new unit. Taking it back to the store wasn’t an option.

Together with a new modem which had drop out issues setting up, and the T-Box that regularly freezes indicate to me that these product ideas needed a little more baking before being released to the market.

 

Telstra Wants Your Feedback – apparently not…

After a pretty frustrating time, I was pleased to receive an e-mail indicating that Telstra wanted my feedback through an online customer feedback site. Given I was a Bigpond customer, being able to access this via existing email login would have been much better than a new username and password.

 

 

When I indicated my occupation when registering the system indicated that Telstra felt they have enough people from my area of the market and did not want my feedback….

 

Poor Database = Customer Service

A few days later I received a letter from Telstra to say that my call rates would be going up. This was a mistake because I was on an all-inclusive call where I was not charged per call. I then received another letter advising that some personal contact details had been sent to the wrong house due to a letter processing error.

Today I am delighted to see the announcement of the 2010 Worst Customer Service Awards. It is no surprise that Telstra figures high on the list.

 

So what are we to learn from the above process and what should you do about it.

IiNet sets a benchmark for customer service simply because they listened to Aristotle, and because everybody in the business is rewarded on customer service. As a result and through constant measuring iiNet is really lifting the bar on what is possible and what we should expect. Thank goodness….

Customer service needs to be measured, and the appropriate support systems must be in place so that the people at the front line can deliver terrific customer service.

 

So, what should you do about measuring and improving customer service in your business?

So, what should you do about measuring and improving customer service in your business?
Measuring is important – strike the balance between constant annoyance and providing opportunities for feedback. Use tools like Survey Monkey to measure service standards to get started at a low cost, and move to more sophisticated tools as you need to. Monitor social media for comments positive and negative and be sure to take action on both sides. Seek feedback regularly.

 

The Year Draws to a Close

As we rapidly approach the end of the year, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter, for your friendship and support and to acknowledge our clients for their business.

I have listed their names and sites to the right of companies we have completed projects for during the year, and hope that you may have the opportunity to give them a try. In my view, they all have the right perspective on service and the importance of a customer.