While I spend some quality time relaxing on the tile floor in my master bathroom, curled in a fetal position, being visited by this years demon spawn of a flu virus, my friend Debbi Bressler has graciously volunteered a nice customer service story. Thanks Debbi !
Not unlike the police officer who is frustrated by the judge who lets criminals run free, is the salesperson who sees their effort thwarted by incompetent customer service personnel and policies.
With the cost of acquiring a new customer in the $200-500 range, it is incumbent on all of us to be sure that the new customer has as flawless and positive an experience as possible. To do otherwise cuts income from the sales staff and company’s bottom line.
Alas…some companies have a harder time realizing this than others. And some…well… they never “get” it!
Case in point is my experience yesterday with Bright House Networks, a local cable and broadband provider in Orlando, Florida. Over the past few days, I’d received a number of calls on my Grand Central account from Bright House to Joshua. Seems that he was a new customer who didn’t know his phone number and used mine instead.
First Bright House called to thank him for his business. Then they called to confirm an installation appointment. Then they called to inform him that the technician was at his door – but he wasn’t.
For those of you unfamiliar with Grand Central, it’s a one number service. This means that when someone calls my number, it calls all the contact numbers I have listed, as well as leaving a voice mail which I can access online. If I’m in my office when Grand Central beckons, a veritable symphony erupts.
I’d finally had enough and decided to call Bright House to let them know that Joshua was unlikely to ever get their messages and to please quit calling me.
Me: Someone named Joshua keeps getting phone calls on my business number. Can you please make a note and take my number off because I don’t know this guy and he will never get the message ?
CS: What is the number ?
CS: You are correct. This account does not belong to you. Well, since this is not your account there is nothing we can do. Our system will have to keep calling this number until the person whose name is on the account calls in and changes it.
Me: Excuse me ?
CS: Yea, sorry, there is nothing we can do ’cause you have no authority even though it’s your phone number.
Me: So whom should I send the bill to for my time and cell phone minutes ?
CS: Umm … can I put you on hold for UP TO FIVE MINUTES while I talk to a supervisor ?
And off he goes…..only to return five minutes later to say:
CS: Umm … I am still talking to my supervisor. Can I put you on hold again for up to five minutes ?
The rep finally came back – after I was on hold a total of about 12 minutes – to say “ I’ve put a notation on his account and when he calls in we will ask him for a correct phone number. ”
To which I replied: “ Five years ago when I moved to Orlando, I used your broadband service. At that time your customer service was the worst I’d ever experienced. In fact, a supervisor offered me free service for a few months and I turned it down. Thanks for reminding me that I made a really good decision back then. ”
Imagine how much money Bright House Networks spends to acquire new customers. And think how much money they have lost because incompetent personnel and policies have allowed those customers to slip through their fingers – never to return.
Remember…the sales process doesn’t end with the handshake.
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