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What goes on behind bad customer service

March 20, 2008

Ever get an irritable voice on the line when you call up customer service? Ever wanted to stick your hand into the phone and strangle the guy/gal on the other side? Want to know why it happens?

Here’s a little known secret. In some companies, customer service began as a corporate dustbin. Its a place to ‘throw away’ staff that the bosses can’t stand anymore. Companies know that labor rules prevent them from simply firing problematic staff so the idea of ‘cold storage’ came about – a corporate hell hole where there is ‘work’ to do but salaries and promotions remain frozen.

Why is customer service a favorite place for cold storage? Well, setting up a special department called cold storage and thinking up all kinds of pointless work for people you don’t trust is a waste of time and money. The beauty about customer service is that the work is created by dissatisfied customers, not by the company. On top of that, with customers hammering at the staff 8 hours a day 365 days a year, with any luck he/she will say screw you and leave. Kill 2 birds with one stone. Neat eh.

So next time you dial a customer hotline and find yourself socked with an attitude of, “Oh yeah? Like I care,” remember you may be talking to someone in cold storage.

Contrast this with the scenario where customer service people are purposely selected for the job based on personality profiles and attitudes that actually please the customer. Pros who are highly trained, speak very well, and whose salaries match those of other executives in the company.

Now look at your company and tell me, which scenario do you think best describes your company’s customer service?

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