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How to Overcome Brand-Killing Customer Service Glitches

By: Elaine Fogel


How to Overcome Customer Service Glitches

Most of us have experienced them… customer service glitches. Those nasty technological boo-boos that make us want to scream!

Now, place yourself in your customers’ shoes experiencing those glitches with your business or organization. Ouch.

No matter the size of your organization, if you use technology to serve customers, then glitches can happen. And, most of the time, you won’t even know about them. Double ouch.

Why are Customer Service Glitches so Important to Avoid?

It’s your brand reputation, baby. When customers experience glitches, they get frustrated, then angry, and then… they can possibly leave you!

Besides, who wants customers bad-mouthing your organization because of technology?

Here’s a perfect example:

Last week, I had a very bad customer experience with my daily newspaper. My elderly father asked me to cancel his paper before the expiry date.

I logged into his account and looked for an “unsubscribe” option but couldn’t find one. So, I tried the chat tool.

The chat operator advised me to call the paper’s customer service line as she did not have the authority to cancel subscriptions. You know what that means? A retention representative will try keeping customers by dangling incentives. OK, as a marketer, I get that.

But, then, look what happened:

I called the main number, and because there was a 14-minute wait, opted to have someone call me back. The prompt said to push #1 for a callback, which I did 3-4 times, after which I reached the maximum number of attempts before the system forced me to hold.

Finally, an agent answered. I told her what I wanted to do and she did not respond. I heard computer typing, office noise, and the agent clearing her throat, but she did not come back on the line. I tried shouting to get her attention, even resorting to blowing an emergency whistle in the phone, but to no avail. After 24 minutes, I hung up.

So, what did I do?

I researched the website, located the publisher’s email address, and sent an email outlining the glitches and my frustrating customer experience. Of course, I didn’t expect her to call back, but someone else did, within a couple of hours.

  • He was so apologetic, acknowledging how terrible my experience sounded. (Demonstrate empathy.)
  • He then thanked me for letting the paper know about the glitch. (Say thank you for telling.)
  • He said they were investigating it as we spoke. (Do something about the glitch/issue.)
  • He also told me that he took care of canceling the subscription. (Resolve the customer’s problem.)

He did everything right.

Since I am also a subscriber, I cut the paper some slack. Yes, I could have canceled my subscription, too, but it redeemed itself with an excellent customer service response. I also suspect that the tech team has fixed the glitches I experienced.

How You Can Avoid Brand-Killing Customer Service Glitches

  1. Post contact information on your website so customers can let you know what they’ve experienced. When you bury telephone numbers and email addresses, you do your organization (and your customers) a disservice.
  2. Test everything you do that relies on technology to ensure smooth, error-free transactions.
  3. When you discover a glitch, fix it immediately. If you don’t know how, consult the technology provider.
  4. Encourage your customers to advise you when their experiences are poor.

Being proactive can surely head off major issues. But, when they happen anyway, be smart and make it right. Your brand depends on it.

Published: July 8, 2016

Source: Elaine Fogel

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