Company survival

Purely by volume

To care or not to careI’m sure we’ve all experienced problems after buying something, i.e. mobile phones, TV’s, furniture, even cars. Something goes wrong with the product. The ideal remedy is to take it back and get an on-the-spot repair, exchange or refund. Unfortunately though it’s not always that straightforward, particularly in todays online shopping culture.

While most people will accept that products can fail, equally they expect the people behind the products to put it right. He’s where the “customer service” department comes in – and often where the real problems begin!

So, you phone up and get the dreaded “press this, press that” menu (always designed to speed things up for you of course), then as “all our agents are currently busy…” you’re held in a queue, frequently for a long time. When someone does finally answer, invariably with a foreign accent which is hard to understand, you explain the problem, usually more than once. More often than not the call ends with you going off to try something they suggested; which never works. So, you phone again, and repeat the whole process to a different agent. Or maybe you decide it’s less stressful to use their “contact us” email form. Big mistake that! All that happens then is you get back the auto-acknowledgement saying how important your message is – then nothing more!

The point here is “why are customer service people the same the world over?” It doesn’t matter which company you deal with, the CS department will almost always be a source of despair. So, “why?”, and just as importantly, “how do these companies stay in business?”

Quantity over Quality!

If all companies provide the same low level of service, where do customers turn? Simple, they get fed up and move to a different company, but it’s this constant turn-over of customers, between companies, which keeps the vicious circle going – and the standards low.SurvivalRegretfully, the days when “service” meant genuine concern for customers and a desire to maintain or even enhance a company’s reputation seem to have disappeared. It’s now just a rat-race, with a “win some, lose some” approach, and who loses? The customers, naturally.

You might think this poor attitude is limited to the bigger companies, but unfortunately not, even though reputation is even more valuable to the small fry. To illustrate my point, an outfit producing a barcode app for mobiles responds to customer queries simply by criticising reviews. It offers no explanation, let alone help, and tells the customer to “move along”! The name of this particular bunch to avoid, “ZXing Team”. Remember it, and stay well clear. They probably won’t be around long anyway, with that attitude!

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