This one is for my small business owners and those selling their wares.
As a business owner, I pride myself on my customer service, if I screw up, I apologize and do whatever I can do to make it right. But, sometimes I think companies get a little to big for their britches (yes, I know I am showing my age with that comment).
Tonight I had the pleasure (being facetious here) of dealing with not one, but two courier companies.
The first, who shall not be named (but may have the initials FE) left me a final delivery notice after a first attempt and then they take it to a depot literally 45 min drive from me. We share one car as we live downtown so it would be the weekend before I could go there to pick it up. So I call, I am told too bad, you have to go there. This was after 30 min on hold and every answer I gave had to be repeated 2 or 3 times (and I made sure to talk as slowly as possible because I know how difficult it can be in a call centre), after all this time, I lose my temper (I did not yell and I know it is not his fault, but I demanded a supervisor). They get me a supervisor who is miraculously allowed to do what I had asked for.
When I asked him why it came to this, why the other guy couldn't do it. He just apologizes and says he is sorry. I ask for a number or email address to put in a complaint so that they can follow up with some training. I don’t ever want to get people fired, but training is an absolute must. But no, he says he will let them know and rushes me off the phone.
Because, two weeks ago I went through a similar process with this same company, they sent me to an outlet that wasn’t open yet even though they told me my package was already there. Because I had pushed the wrong button, I wanted to correct it, so I called them. Explained what had happened and asked them to redirect it to the another outlet. They said they could not because it had already been delivered to the one I had originally accidentally requested. I was surprised but impressed that they had taken my information and got it there so fast. I figured the driver got the info and was there doing his drop offs so they left it there. It seemed plausible to me in this land of instant messaging and all.
But no, when I got there the next day they informed me they were not yet open as an outlet and wouldn’t be for a few more days. I said well my package is here, I was told so. They finally called the customer service line, we needed to get a supervisor as they kept saying I had to go to this far away depot to get it.
He gets on the line, apologizes and redirects it and says they will call me when it is there. The day it was sent to the other outlet I did get a call, in fact I got four. Two recordings and two people. They all left messages as I had a busy day and could not get to the phone. They all said different things, told me it was in different locations, told me they couldn’t redirect it. But, the last call was from a person saying it was at the new outlet.
So, I head down there and they advise me they don’t have it. I remain calm and ask them to check again… 2 people and 15 minutes later they find it and I go on my way.
So, you can see by today I was a bit annoyed with the whole thing.
I will find a way to communicate my frustration with them. Training is obviously needed, badly!!
But then… I have deal with a second courier tonight.
I got an email today from them stating that my package would be delivered tomorrow, it required a signature but I could sign for it online. Perfect. I click the link and it takes me to the tracking and I put in the tracking number again and click track. Now no option to sign. So I go back to the email and start again and round we go, getting nowhere.
So. I figure, must be because I am on my phone, I will use my laptop.
Get on my laptop, I sign in to my email, click the sign for package link. It tells me to sign up for their program, I do , it tells me I am already a member. I go back and start again, we do the same thing all over again. So, I make sure I am logged into my account. I try again, same thing. There is no way to sign for the package, I can sign up for the program but I am already a member.
So, I call them. Tell them the issue, she asks for the tracking number and tells me it has not left the place it is being shipped from. WTF!!
So, I explain that I got an email saying it will be delivered tomorrow but I am unable to sign for it. She says not to worry it does not need a signature. Excuse me? I explain again the email I have gotten and how I have tried to sign for it but it won’t allow me too and she keeps telling me not to worry because it doesn’t need a signature. I swear if it is not delivered tomorrow because it needs a signature and I am not here I will lose my mind.
Ok, so why do I share all this?
Yes, a bit to vent as I just got through all that back to back bull sh*t.
But really, it is to talk about customer service and training. I have been an educator, trainer and customer service instructor for a long long time. I trained in call centres when they were still here in our country, that was a long time ago. I have also done business customer service training on a contract basis and really feel strongly about the importance of customer service.
And I will say they were all polite, they all apologized and told me how I must be feeling, frustrated, upset, confused etc. But to me, customer service is so much more. It is knowing how to do your job properly, it is knowing how to fix it if something goes wrong, it is knowing that giving platitudes is not enough.
And who do I blame? Not the workers. I blame the companies.
We are not educating our employees, we are not setting our employees up for success. We are not giving them the tools that they need to excel at their jobs and in turn make our companies look good.
I get sending work overseas, I do it myself but that has nothing to do with training.
Many large companies have departments to deal with complaints, with mess ups, with losses. But why? Because sh*t happens, yes it does. But, does it need to happen to the point where you have a whole department dedicated to f*%$ing up?
So, what will you do to make things right before you need a whole department to stay on top of what is going wrong. Where do you want to spend your energy and your resources?
Something to think about.
Have an Amazingly Creative Day,