Southwest, a company already well respected for the way it treats its customers, now has a new option for those calling in to their service center. The company has begun using Virtual Hold, a service that allows customers to call the service centers, and if the wait is too long, will call the customer back when the next customer service representative is available. Sitting on hold is a pet peeve of many customers, and Southwest has already been praised for this new initiative.
The new offering has reportedly earned the airline high marks from customers ‘ some of whom twittered about it.
‘Companies: In an age of cell phones, don’t make me sit on hold. Call me back when it’s my turn, like Southwest just did,’ one customer ‘tweeted’ on the popular social networking site, according to the release.
Read the full article here.
There has been quite a bit of buzz about how Comcast is reaching out and providing service for those customers who tweet about their problems with Comcast’s services. However, and interesting article at The Industry Standard about how the program is still taking off, and some customer service reps aren’t even aware there is a division of representatives that are contacting customers via Twitter.
“I spoke to an…employee who berated me for not contacting them sooner. I explained that I had done so, most recently via Twitter and that’s when everything got bizarre,” John told The Industry Standard. “He said he had never heard of it…I pointed out that I’ve gone through the cycle of reporting it…but because I had used Twitter…he indicated that they didn’t really count!”
How would you take care of this problem in your company?
Any customer knows what it’s like to call a company just to be routed through directory after directory. VoIP-News recently published a list of ways to get around waiting for a customer service representative.
So what are the right characters to push:
- Press zero. Pressing zero will often result in a direct route to a live person. Continue pressing zero until you’re put through. You may need to try combinations such as “0#,” “#0,” “0*” or “*0.”
- Memorize prompts. If you’re unfortunate enough to have call about the same issue on a regular basis, memorize the prompts that work for you.
- Press the pound key. Skip to the next message or just confuse the system by pressing this character.
- Press the star key. Again, the star key can open up system tricks or simply make the system give up on you.
- Press everything. By pressing multiple numbers, you can trick systems into thinking you’re on a rotary phone ‘ or that you’re crazy. Either way, you’re in.
- Go through the phone prompts. Sometimes it pays to work with the system.
- Press any digit repeatedly. You may land in the wrong department, but you’ll end up at beginning of line when you’re transferred.
For the complete list, read the article here.
KansasCity.com reports that Sprint CSO Bob Johnson could be planning to close as many as 20 call centers in 2009. They are expecting a 20% drop in calls about billing and handsets due to improvement in Sprint service. Johnson also cites that customers call Sprint at a very high rate, more than any of their competitors.
What do you think about moves like this? Although Sprint has improved their service, do you think taking away their customer care continue to affect the reality of the situation in a positive light?
This morning I came across this post on the Call Center Caf?? in which Curtis Bingham explains that customer service representatives must carefully analyze and rank the customer according to value prior to doing too much to satisfy them. Here are 3 things that Curtis recommends companies doing to protect the best customers and profits:
- Prioritize customers according to value
- Tier the service offering
- Address disgruntled customers according to their priority and service tier
Make sure to use your CRM system to rank your customers according to value; sometimes it’s better off if you send your customers home packing if they are causing too much trouble and money. Secondly, tier the service offering to reflect 2 different segments, the low-price segment and the high-value segment. If the customer is a low priority than do enough not to tarnish the company’s good reputation, but if the customer is a high priority then do everything you can to resolve the customer’s complaint and keep their loyalty.
Do you agree with these methods?
Washington Post recently discussed the lighthearted side of call centers. India is known for their call centers, which are outsourced from the U.S. and is estimated to be an approximately $64 billion dollar Industry. In a new movie from Bollywood titled “Hello”, the makers of the film define in pop culture terms what it means to be one of the 2 million call center workers in a comedic light. As this editor from India Today eloquently stated:
“It was bound to happen. The glitz of globalization provides its own cultural cliches. The call center is the most widely shared temptation among the chroniclers of new India. For the metaphor hunters of Indian popular culture and fiction, the call center has replaced the old snake charmer.”
I came across this article that explains how the outsourcing of customer service functions is not only seen as a short term cost cutting tool, but it is also a strategy for long term competitive advantage.
In order to get closer to your customers, you must engage a fully functional center that supports telephone, e-mail, the web, and social media (which was not mentioned by the article). Companies are always looking to reduce costs to increase revenue, but the reduction of costs should not affect the quality of customer service.
Posted today on examiner.com, Mr. Stevens outlines the main components to problems businesses have with customer service. Here’s a hint, it’s the businesses who are the culprit. What with a huge gap between 8% of businesses actually providing good customer service and the 80% of businesses who claim to do so; Stevens provides some tough love that business owners big and small should seriously consider. How do you rate the customer service of your business? Do you find these percentages correct?
With the North American Conference On Customer Service approaching, we would like to introduce you to the speakers we will have at our event. This year, NACCM will take place from November 16 ‘ 19, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Bill Price. Bill Price is the founder of Driva Solutions, LLC, and the author of The Best Service is No Service. Prior to Driva Solutions Bill Price was the Vice President of Amazon.com’s Global Customer Service. Price helped them to reduce contacts-per-order’? by over 70% which helped win Amazon.com the second highest-ever customer satisfaction rating for a company based in the United States. Some of his other accomplishments include: the publication of more than 20 articles and whitepapers, videotapes of past presentations from 2002 and 2004 are still broadcast on television as relevant, in 1997 he was awarded ‘Call Center Pioneer’ from Call Center Magazine, and in 2004 was asked to be one of ten ‘CRM Gurus’. As previously mentioned Bill Price is the author of The Best Service is No Service: How to Liberate Your Customers from Customer Service, Keep Them Happy, and Control Costs. Check out the Driva Solutions blog titled ‘Best Services’ here. Also, we’re excited to have Bill Price present a web seminar on October 15 called Outsourcing and offshoring, insourcing and onshoring ‘ so many choices, so little frank information. Stay tuned to the NACCM Customers 1st blog for more information We invite you to come see Bill Price at NACCM as he presents on Monday, November 17th, When the Best Service is No Service.
In a blog post at Service Untitled, they discussed the importance of your customers feeling satisfied with their customer service representatives when on phone calls. Most often, customers feel they’re going to call the call center and the representative is not going to know what their problem is. Customers are more likely to have a pleasant experience if they feel that when on a phone call, the customer service representative knows their problem and can fix it. So how do you give your customers confidence in your CSRs? The representatives should tell the customer calling that they can help them resolve the problem today. Letting a customer know that the representative is happy to be there and willing to help solve the problem makes all the difference in a satisfied customer at the end of a call.