One end of the pendulum to the other: From not communicating enough with customers to deluging them with confirmations, reminders, requests, survey questions, and directives via automated platforms and conversations. Clear, consistent communication is one thing. This is getting very noisy and annoying. While most customers can control the level of information provided to some degree (e.g., opting in/out of text and email messages and the like), there also is a proliferation of “surveying” during phone conversations that can get positively ridiculous.
Recently, I needed to contact T-Mobile regarding some service changes. While the initial rep I encountered clearly had difficulty understanding even the simplest communications, a subsequent interaction went astray after I felt beaten about the head and shoulders with customer service survey questions along the lines of: Was I happy with T-Mobile? Would I recommend T-Mobile to others? How likely was I to recommend T-Mobile?
The queries seemed to be as much about gathering fodder for reviews as truly wanting to know my level of satisfaction. After politely fielding a couple of them, I shut down the rep as she continued to pummel me for feedback. While I was satisfied with the overall level of service and the rep’s customer service skills, I hung up annoyed that I was ostensibly being asked to serve as a walking commercial for T-Mobile.
I’m generally willing to provide post-call feedback via yet another automated outreach. But not this time. I hit the “delete” button and moved on.
This isn’t customer service; it’s harassment.
Another telecom example features a friend’s CenturyLink snafu. She had scheduled an in-home tech call. About a half-hour before the tech was due to arrive, she got a call saying no in-person visit was necessary. They had been able to fix the problem remotely. Okay, so far, so good.
However, when she tried to cancel the appointment online, it said that the tech already was en route and that the appointment couldn’t be cancelled.
When the tech showed up two-plus hours later, she apprised him that it was a wasted trip. Clearly, communications was lacking—leading to unnecessary efforts and, ultimately, customer frustration with a system that didn’t know how to communicate with itself, much less others.
Then, there’s the “appointment” setting, confirmation, follow-up and review request protocol. My previous haircutter’s automated platform reached out multiple times before and after the appointment to confirm, communicate pandemic protocols, set a new appointment, and request a review.
While I initially appreciated their diligence, it too got old…and annoying. I could have opted out but didn’t think much about it until the next round of emails and texts was upon me. Finally, I stopped some of it. And, although I was basically happy with their customer service on-site, I never provided a review because I had gotten totally fed up with their automated customer disservice.
Interestingly, I just signed up with a new stylist. I set the appointment, then…nothing. No reminders, no requests for reviews, nothing. I’m finding it refreshing after the barrage elsewhere.
In their zeal to generate positive reviews and, in theory, assess their customer service performance and areas needing improvement, companies are forgetting the exhortation of the Greek poet Hesiod: Everything in moderation.
Ever-responsive, T-Mobile needs to tone down their 20 questions to something manageable. CenturyLink needs to communicate better with itself. And service providers everywhere need to evaluate current reminder and communications platforms, and make common-sense adjustments where necessary.