Why We Do What We Do—Tales from the Dark Side of Customer Service

Lisa Boles August 10, 2023

I recently had an incredibly frustrating encounter with customer service that really brought home the importance of what we do. This is what happened…

I had received an email telling me that a particular piece of equipment had reached its end-of-life and needed to be replaced. The instructions were to click on the included link and a replacement unit would be shipped directly to me along with all the instructions for installation.

Simple enough—right?

Well, after a month, no replacements had arrived—so I went online to see if I could figure out what the holdup was.

This is where the “fun” started, and I found myself stuck in chatbot hell. No matter what I tried, I could not find anything close to an answer. When I repeatedly asked the bot to connect me with an agent, I was thrown back into the original self-service menu.

After some additional searching on the web, I FINALLY found a phone number to call for customer service. (This was nowhere to be found on the customer service page.) UGH!

So, after an hour or so wait, I’m connected with an agent who asked me all the questions I had already answered through self-service. In addition, the agent had absolutely no idea about any letters sent out to customers about their equipment—nor did she have any idea why the equipment I had ordered was never sent.

She said there was no record of my request, even though I had received an automated reply confirming it had been received. Frustrating indeed!

Ultimately, after another 40 minutes or so, I was scheduled for an in-home service call. I thought the whole idea of ordering on-line was to avoid tying up techs who weren’t really needed for this kind of job?

I was not a happy camper.

This is what could have/should have happened:

Taking an open platform approach to customer engagement would have enabled my service provider to offer me a seamless journey as I transitioned from their self-service bot to an agent—with containment bots that are designed to answer questions and, when necessary, seamlessly transfer to a live agent.

That agent would have had a summary of my prior interactions at his/her fingertips. That way, I wouldn’t have had to repeat what I told the bot about the reason I contacted customer service in the first place.

It would have then been a simple matter of ordering the new equipment—which is simple to install—and would have prevented the need for a service call. I had arranged to be home for an entire day, because they could only provide a vague time window for the tech to arrive.

The result? A win/win: happy customer + time and dollars saved by the vendor.

To discover more ways your organization can score wins with your customers—improving engagement and loyalty while closing the Engagement Capacity Gap—click here.