Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

Hi everybody and Happy New Year!

Last month I was charged for an item I never received. So I went to the vendor’s on-line portal to explain, and they sent me a friendly e-mail with a return label. So I could return the item. That I never received.

I called the vendor and began a journey through various levels of Interactive Voice Response torture. I finally reached an offshore service person, to whom I explained my situation. He said he was very sorry for my inconvenience. He then shared his insight into my deepest thoughts by saying in his accented voice he understood how having a problem with his company must be so frustrating to me. He explained he would send me a shipping label and if I would simply return the item, I would get a refund. I told him I never received the item. He repeated his original response. I told him I never received the item. He repeated his original response as if I had trouble hearing it the first two times. I explained I never received the item a total of six times before he finally got it.

Whatever happened to customer service? In my experience, it’s not very healthy:

Here are some symptoms:

  • Nightmare interactive voice response systems
  • Always having “unusually high call volumes”
  • Asked for same data multiple times
  • Phone numbers buried in website
  • Website directs you to useless FAQ
  • Website directs you to do your own service
  • No answer/no call back
  • Offshore service reps working from scripts
  • Boilerplate communication
  • Lazy responses/inaccuracies/bad grammar

Here are some problems:

  • Companies actively use technology to reduce costs but fail to address the impact on overall customer experience
  • Companies gravitate to technology solutions because they believe Millennials want that without regard to others that prefer real people
  • Offshore service people who operate from rigid scripting, so it’s essentially technology disguised with an accented human voice
  • Surveys that focus on the wrong things (like “was the rep nice?” instead of “why did the problem arise and how can we fix it?”)

What are we doing at Desert Insurance Solutions to achieve and maintain good customer service? What does it mean for us to be a boutique?

I want each customer, wherever they are and however they want, to be able to reach a qualified service professional fast. Preferably someone they know. So I hire and train my own staff and I never pass off service to offshore centers like many agents. In a claims situation, clients must deal directly with carriers but we can help guide you through that if needed. And when I choose carriers to represent, I always consider claims service quality.

We use technology, but to facilitate personal contact, not to replace it. You can communicate with us in-person or via e-mail, text or phone. Because of Covid in-person visits have become less prevalent and we’ve had several work-from-home lockdowns. So we’ve invested in a new phone system to get you to the right service person fast, wherever you are and wherever they are.

It’s very important to us that you are properly protected…we’re not going to risk that by asking you to do your own service and disguising that as a convenience. These centralized service centers that are all the rage pay their employees based on how fast they can get you off the phone. My employees are encouraged to take as much time as needed to get to know you, your situation, solve your problem and identify other exposures that you may not have considered.

If you have a problem with our service, please let me know directly so I can fix it. Likewise, if you’ve had a good service experience, feel free to let me know so I can pass on your feedback and make one of my hard working employees feel good about it.

Or even better, tell your friends!