Have you noticed the undeniable decline in customer service at almost all large institutions which serve the public? What needs to be done?
This has become apparent to me not only in dealing with the cable company, my banks ("too big to fail" but still love to collect unjustified income via fees), all major stores where Millennials (when they are not texting or talking on their phones) service customers. The worst one so far has been my experience with OptumRx, a mail-in pharmaceuticals provider owned by publicly-traded United Healthcare which exhibits incredible incompetence, duplicity and deprave indifference to Human Life, putting profits far ahead of patients. Do you think that getting these people into the spotlight (with the public and with regulatory agencies) by using quick customer surveys [ You may read more at http://douglasecastleblog.com/2014/01/05/optumrx-must-die-mailorder-pharmacy-monstrosity/ ] or petitions circulated aggressively through social media is a possible solution? The decline in customer service has actually lowered our expectation levels and has helped to destroy the international perception of our (now) service-based economy. I'd like your opinion. If you are suffering with OptumRx, which is literally making patients physiologically and emotionally sick, you might wish to fill out a quick survey. What is our best strategy, as an under served public needing better treatment?
Relative to US governmental institutions, unethical leadership influences interaction. Relative to US corporations, I observed more responsive customer relationship management due to competitive challenges.
Welcome Douglas E Castle ,
Nothing to worry about OptumRx.
Though we are in social site we must inform you that, it is a common problem and which has nice solution. For which we have to adjust our coolness and concentration.
Certain competitiors are unfair and fair, both are welcome.
Customers are suffering , it is also welcome.
Then, big institutions must not forget that an ant could finish an elephant..
Big organizations have made much mistakes which they are over looking due to over confidence.
You need to invest in our project for best solution.
So, big institutions should have to make and adopt exclusive customer service management system immediately before its too late.
If you need solution to it then you have to sign a project deal for complete solution.
You can write us in detail to our email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It seems that there is a fundamental disconnect
between the seekers of service and the providers of service.
The connection can only come when the management
of service providers truly understand the needs of their
customers, and the needs of their employees.
A skillful programme of awareness,motivation, training and coaching
can then be implimented for the employees, together
with a level of service definition for customers.
Constant monitoring of the alignment of customer and
employee expectations will, over time, create a culture
of mutual respect and satisfaction through the giving
and receiving of service.
Hi Mr. Castle,
Great topic and a very contentious issue with several organizations across the globe. This anathema has also been a challenge in several industries, including the travel industry (airlines) where passengers are not treated well.
One common way that I have visioned to solve this problem collaboratively is via crowd-ranking and rating.
This will force the vendors (large corporations) to do things that they would not otherwise choose to do so. We need to transfer the control of performance metrics from the corporation reporting it to the public (consumers) who can control them through their preferred patronage.
With the advent of technology this transfer of control and decision making powers to consumers is bound to happen soon. Question is what industries are being targeted.
Should you be interested in discussing this offline? Please let me know.
Douglas, companies need to get back to basics by hiring the right people, engaging them immediately during the on-boarding process, no short cuts in training and ensure coaching and mentoring by front line supervisor and managers.
Over the last few years investment in the people has been cut to reduce company operating expense, the result is high turnover and poor customer service delivery.
SCC Services Group
Douglas's observations truly are a problem for many large and small organizations that we deal with on a daily basis and there is no particular industry or vertical that is immune to the issue of poor customer service.
My peers have identified many solid ideas and solutions for organizations to consider but I will take a little bit different approach. I don't believe that any of the companies in their board room are saying let's deliver poor customer support because we can squeeze a few more points out of our margin. I believe that the real issue is the chaos of all the internal operational systems that have proliferated over time within their operational ecosystem.
In basic terms they store information and data in so many different systems and as some have suggested they have reduced manpower and knowledge of these systems so trying to deliver a seamless customer experience based on the information they have collected is impossible. The poor people on the front line of the services organizations have their hands tied because they have to jump between systems to try and find the answer that you are looking for, that is why the have to ask you repeatedly 'what is your name" , "what was your account again" , can I put you on hold for a minute.
I see this over and over again, I work with organizations to help them consolidate the massive amounts of important information that they are capturing so that the customer service agents can deliver contextually relevant information to their customers when and where they need it. Did you know that many of these organizations often have 20-50+ different systems that have to be navigated to find the right information. When customer service agents have a consolidated view of this information they can deliver a great customer experience to their customers. So the solution is nothing magical it is all about putting the right information in the hands of the people who can help you.
Why does this work, people go to work everyday wanting to do a good job and contribute but if they are not given the right tools to do their jobs it becomes very frustrating, which leads to attrition so that is why you are often facing inexperience people in service, if you can help people be successful internally they will begin to gain the experience and knowledge they need to answer your questions, when they don't have the answer they need a support system that can get them that answer every time, this builds confidence, confidence builds success.
These organizations need to provide contextually relevant content and put it in context to answer questions at any point of the customer journey. We live in an era of high demands and expectations on our experiences, we are also happy to share these experiences through many different social channels so companies that don't figure this out will falter, even the big ones!
There are so many factors which have led to the demise of proper service.
1.) Improper or no training.(Example-the 6 " rule is extinct & should be revived: when you see the client, 100% attention, head up, phone down & smile with a greeting)
2.) Tenure in some places has resulted in people knowing they can't be fired, so they don't bother to be amenable.(no motivation-no accountability!)
3.) outsourcing to other countries added the slippery slope of polite answers from manuals, but no actual rectifying service.
4.) Too much media exposure-has rendered rude behavior "entertaining" & somehow, has become a mark of individual entitlement.
5.) Of course, it goes without saying, that if the only incentive is money, without pride in accomplishment, there can be no excellence in service.
My goodness, I could go on, but this is a good place to kickstart!
Hmm... I'm pretty surprised by the length of responses on this question. This is a pretty simple and straightforward issue.
1) Companies do this because they can. Like any other part of their business, they will trim and cut costs (both by head count and skills-by-salary) as far as they can get away with. So long as it's not stopping you from doing business with them, they've got no incentive or motivation to change.
2) The best strategy is to stop giving them money. Take business elsewhere. If there's nowhere to turn and you think that better service will draw business, then start that business. This is exactly what a free economy expects/demands of it's participants. Also consider http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dollar_voting
This is a universal phenomenon, not only USA. I live in EU, Switzerland to be exact and have lived in Finland and done a lot of business with many other countries.
In my opinion this is about leadership. Companies today have all kind of employee assessment systems, but people are not lead by example. Show me one leader (company CEO) who really leads from the front! Only in some SMEs this is still the case, but even in these ones people hide behind processes and common sense does not prevail. Companies must make money, but leaders must show by example that it is not only done in short term, it must be a long term approach.
Industiral companies are analyzed by banks who use people coming out the school writing "analyst reports" that do not make any sense, certified public accountants have huge disclaimers. Very few leaders stand up and say we do it differently and we really put customer first.
People learn fast. So if you teach a team to be polite and care for the high standards than it will happen. It is also how you deal with your team. If you hire a team of customer reps and treat them as "I just don't give a damn" - they wont either.
The problem starts with the supervisors and the one person that is affecting team and causes chaos.If one person can do what he pleases and can get away with murder (as the supervisor's favourite), than it will stat creating unhealthy environment.
If you have an insider in one particular company, and she/he can provide you with direct names of supervisors/managers, than you should go public with that info.
Lets face it - it all starts with top managers. The more we treat regular workers as cheap labor and disrespect them, the more it will backfire. They are no worst or better than us.