Last week’s Comcast call with customer Ryan Block took the web by storm. It was yet another unfortunate example of poor customer service.
As the Director of Customer Relations at FrontPoint, this call resonated strongly with me. I shared it with my team and we had a wider discussion about what it means for us and the work that we do.
Embedded within that call was a true account of what not to do. As professionals in the customer support industry, and any industry, we have a duty to treat our customers with the highest level of attention and care. It made me think of three lessons, and practices, that are essential to my work.
Lesson 1: Listen to Your Customers
Throughout the call, the Comcast representative repeatedly said “I’m trying to help you” or “I want to understand.” This is an excellent approach, however the representative fell short of delivering on his desire to help or understand.
It’s not enough to just hear what a customer is saying, you have to listen.
Companies need to treat their customers right, and this should be a top priority. After you listen to their problem, you should work with them to find the best resolution. That leads me to the second lesson.
Lesson 2: Empathize with Customers
You know how annoying it is to sit on a phone jumping through hoops to get what should be a simple process done? We’ve all had experiences like this and it’s not how it should be.
Every single conversation with a customer should be about that customer. This means having an unscripted conversation focused on the customer’s needs. They are the most important thing in the world at that exact moment.
Lesson 3: Promote Good Behavior
Representatives should not be held to a quota, where their livelihood at a company is tied to how many customers they can “save.” Unfortunately, this is how Comcast trains its team – and the company has admitted it too.
Additionally, incentives need to be carefully set so that representatives aren’t put in a place where they can only make a reasonable income if they push too hard.
So here’s the third takeaway: don’t give representatives a quota or incentive that rewards poor customer service behavior.
These calls need to be about finding the best solution for the customer. When representatives are encouraged to understand the customer’s experience or circumstances, they are better equipped to help that customer. The result is excellent service.
Sometimes a company may not be able to please every customer, and that’s okay. It is not an excuse, however, to fail to deliver a positive experience. Treat customers with respect and professionalism, even on their way out, and it will pay dividends in the long run.
Service How It Should Be
The Comcast call reminds us that companies cannot get away with this sort of behavior – and they shouldn’t! Information spreads incredibly fast and all it takes is one outspoken customer to spark an outcry.
The good news is that this recording got Comcast to acknowledge that it needed to review its training programs. Hopefully, other companies are as well.
At FrontPoint, our customers are very important to us. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them. That’s why we do things differently, and provide the best customer service in the business, like it should be.