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Sabotaging your own brand Part 1 – Customer Service

July 22, 2008

Companies are not terribly efficient creatures. What the left hand builds, the right hand itches to tear down. Take customer service. After spending up to $10 million in renovation and equipment, here’s how it shafts itself.

  1. Pay frontliners peanuts and get monkeys to man the phones.
  2. Don’t train them. What’s so difficult about picking up the phone and saying “Hallo hallo?”
  3. Don’t include them in your cc list for product and policy changes. Their job is to answer the phones, not to know these things.
  4. Ignore the cases they forward to you. Why should you do their jobs.
  5. Shame the frontliner in front of everyone for being unable to explain things you never told them about.
  6. Hire a frontliner for every 1,000 calls you get a day. You bought that call queueing system for a reason right?
  7. Better still, replace your frontliners with an answering machine. Machines don’t argue with you and they’re loads cheaper.
  8. Call them telephone operators and lump them together with the receptionist and tea lady at company dinners.
  9. Treat customer service as a dumping ground for your problem staff.
  10. Put customer service in the hands of a domintarix, schizo or some manager with weird people issues.
  11. Don’t bother asking the customer what they think of your hotline quality. Lets be honest, which customer is ever satisfied?

Companies never seem to get the point.

The person answering your hotline is your brand ambassador. He’s the guy who puts your best foot forward, the one that leaves delightful first impressions, the one that flies to the customer in a cape to save the day. To the caller, he or she embodies the vibrant exciting personality of your company. You should be putting celebrities there. Or the Carlsberg girls. Or Superman.

Instead what do companies do?

Dump their worst performers there. Pay them peanuts, keep them in the dark, treat them like scum and beat them with a proverbial big stick every time they come to you for assistance. Imagine that happening to the Calsberg girls. Or Superman.

And we wonder why we have a sick customer service culture.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2008 10:39 am

    Yup, totally agreed. Especially when you’re saying that the person who answering the phone is the brand ambassador which is 100% true. Like some foolish company who get anyone who doesn’t even speak proper language to answer the phone. The first impression of the customer must be gosh…. what the hell is this.

  2. Damien permalink*
    July 22, 2008 7:23 pm

    Haha, the Americans got that shock years ago. You could call up customer service for a bank in New York and the person who answered would sound like an Indian. Turns out that many US companies outsource their call center work to India becoz its cheaper. They still do. 🙂

  3. July 22, 2008 10:14 pm

    And who gets the high paying job, the manager who does nothing but talk crap.

  4. Damien permalink*
    July 23, 2008 8:01 am

    Some managers are worth their weight in gold but as you say, many are not. I think the problem starts with ignorance. Not knowing enough about people and assigning them to roles without realizing the far-reaching consequences. Wait, that sounds like getting married doesn’t it, hahaha. 😛

  5. July 24, 2008 1:36 am

    True, the IT call center/helpdesk still monopoly by indian, anyway, the job as a customer service is to have the skills to handle angry customer that curse and shout at them, it’s not an easy job. They are paid to get scold, easy money.

  6. Damien permalink*
    July 24, 2008 11:27 am

    Yeah that’s the positive way to look at it. A company with faultless products has no need for help desks. So there is a benefit to bad products. They create employment. 🙂


  1. You should thank inefficiency « Damien Tan
  2. Sabotaging your own brand Part 2 - Your Product Focus « Damien Tan

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