Five Stupid Customer Service Tricks

Customer Service Pet PeevesFar too many companies couldn’t make the customer service experience more aggravating if they tried. It makes you wonder if they actually are trying.

Here are a few of my biggest customer service peeves. They may be small, but it’s the little daily aggravations that tend to add up to life’s major frustrations. And so many could be avoided with decent communication or some plain common sense.

  1. You call customer service and dutifully follow all the automated instructions to enter your account number, name, address and other information and when you finally get a human? They ask you for all that information all over again. Maybe it’s a technology issue they can’t get past or maybe it’s for security. But if they can’t fix that problem, why not have the human say something like, “We understand you may have already provided this information, but [technology/security/etc/] requires us to ask for it again.”
  2. You call your ISP because your Internet is down and you get a long automated message informing you that “many problems can be resolved by visiting the company’s website.” That would be a great option, IF MY INTERNET WASN’T DOWN!
  3. You call your cable, phone or Internet provider to complain that your service isn’t working properly and they try to sell you on other, unrelated services. If you can’t get the basic service working, why on earth would I be interested in buying other stuff from you?
  4. You want to unsubscribe from an email list and when you click the unsubscribe button, they ask you to enter your email address. Don’t you already have my email address? Plenty of other platforms have figured out one-click unsubscribing. If I don’t want what you’re sending me, why are you trying to aggravate me further by making me take an extra step?
  5. And finally, in the category of traditional human-to-human customer service situations: when I come to your store and make a purchase and you hand me my receipt, YOU are supposed to say thank you. And when I, out of force of habit and general human courtesy thank you, you’re supposed to say, “No, thank YOU.” Not, under any circumstance, “You’re welcome.”

Companies clearly spend a lot of time and money instilling their customer service reps with scripted messages (performed by the reps with varying degrees of commitment and sincerity) designed to placate the customer (“I’m sorry you’re having a problem, let me see what I can do to resolve the situation,” “I understand that this situation is frustrating for you and I will do my best to fix it,” “We are committed to making your customer experience a positive one, so blah, blah, blah …”).

Instead of all that lip service, how about working on some of the underlying problems that are causing or exacerbating customer frustration?