In the last article, I mentioned examining our courses and methods for delivering those courses over the past year. In the long haul, this examination is a good thing. It has resulted in improvement in almost every course. Our classes (other than the standard academics like English, math, etc.) are mostly technical in content, and we are extremely fortunate to have the equipment as well as the talented and experienced faculty to have an excellent program. However, lately the topic of teaching good customer service has resurfaced.
Teaching “customer service” has always been a challenge. Some would say it falls in line with those “soft skills” or “people skills” that are so hard to pin down. These skills are always “mentioned” in every course but not always in detail. Some instructors do make it a point to incorporate specific soft skills into their courses. One is a big fan of role play and uses it quite a bit. This is interesting and fun to watch.
Sometimes case studies are a good way to go. By case studies, I do not necessarily mean long drawn-out articles on customer service skills or examples. However, stories are good to use, and personal experiences can sometimes be relatable, especially if the students have experienced bad customer service themselves and can identify what could have been done differently.
I do not know if it is me, tension from people working remotely, or if customer service in general is getting much worse but, one recent experience stands out.
Because of the remote location of my house, we are limited to satellite Internet options. Satellite Internet is more expensive, slower and usually has limitations in the form of data caps, such is the price of living out in the country. Recently, while working from home, my Internet crashed. Being fairly used to this, I patiently waited for it to return. After about two hours, and with no rain outside, I picked up the phone to call my provider. After being connected to a tech support person, I was told it was my satellite dish, and they would need to dispatch a service technician, but it would be five days before someone could come out. Not at all satisfied with that answer, I complained but to no avail. For the next five days, I had to travel to use Internet. When the technician arrived five days later, he said that our dish did not have a clear “view” of the satellite, and he would have to mount it on our roof. The satellite has been mounted on a pole in our backyard for the past seven years with no problems. He pointed out an 80-year-old tree and said it “must have grown.” I laughed because I thought he was joking. This was in December, and there were no leaves on the tree. That tree had also been trimmed back about five years previously.
I politely explained that I did not want the satellite mounted on my roof and that it had done fine where it was for the past seven years. The technician then stated that it was policy, and if I did not like it, I could call his competitor. He then left. Not really believing what had just happened, I called the company back to find out it was not policy, and they would dispatch another technician, but it would be another two days. Wow! Two days later that technician called to say it was too far away and I would need to call someone else!
Finally, after another two days, we get a technician who replaces a bad cable going from the satellite to the house. I called the company to complain about being charged an extra $95 for a terrible service call experience. They assured me I would be refunded. Two weeks later, I find out I have been charged an additional $95 for the additional service call in addition to the guy who refused service.
Long story shortened, I settled for just the second $95 refunded after dealing with the Better Business Bureau. But I have made this company (including their name) an example to my students when talking about customer service. Of course, there are challenging customers in our business and in every business, but this case checked every box of what bad customer service looks like and how companies lose customers.
Pointing out poor customer service examples like the one above is one sided. We like to include good examples, also! I have a few. But, if you have a good example, and don’t mind writing it down, I would love to hear it.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of TechNation or MD Publishing.
*By entering your email address, you agree to receive emails regarding TechNation Magazine, Webinars, and Exclusive Promos.
© 2021, TechNation Magazine. Site designed by MD Publishing, Inc.