How Can a Simple Customer Request Turn Into a Nightmare?

How Can a Simple Customer Request Turn Into a Nightmare?

I truly enjoy sharing positive customer experiences, but occasionally I just have to vent about an atrocious experience. I know all of you have a few “I can’t believe this is really happening to me” moments that you share with friends and colleagues over coffee or cocktails. The story I am sharing today wins my prize for the worst experience I’ve had in over three years.

My nightmare was sponsored by a well-known telecommunications provider which I have struggled with for years. After hours of wasted time and horrific outcomes several years ago, I dropped my cable and phone service with this provider. I made the poor choice of keeping their internet service, because I didn’t want to swap out equipment, change my email address, etc. (Lesson number one: If you do not feel valued and respected as a customer, don’t stay with a company simply because it’s the easier thing to do. Things likely will not change in the near-term!)

I won’t share every agonizing detail of my nightmare, but I will provide the highlights. My request was quite simple; fix my slow internet speed. In our world today, who has the time or patience to deal with web pages that take too long to load? Each time I spoke to a different person, I had to go through the process of explaining my value as a long-term customer, encourage them to listen to me, let me communicate in my channel of choice, and, most importantly, respect my time.

Over a two week period, I spent 11 hours on the phone, 3 hours on chat and ‘hosted’ three different visits from field technicians. I can’t even begin to effectively express the level of frustration I experienced while attempting to get someone to solve my ‘simple request’. All attempts to escalate, threaten to cancel my service, etc. failed. Every representative that I interacted with on the phone or chat was of no value and extremely patronizing. How does this still happen today?

For a company whose mission statement includes “creating the world’s best online experience,” they continue to operationally struggle to follow through on that promise. Our research shows that companies scoring high in customer experience see substantial top-line revenue growth. Forrester also points out that each 1% improvement in customer experience quality — as measured by Forrester’s Customer Experience Index — results in an additional $15 million to $175 million in annual revenues. Does this company want to continue to lose business? I doubt it, but why haven’t they listened to their customers? What are they doing to prevent this from happening to thousands of other customers?

How do you come back from an operational nightmare like this? It is possible! Here are some suggestions that would no doubt improve the customer experience and why is important to your organization’s business model:

Unlock Opportunity by Connecting a CX Strategy to Operations

Ask yourself the following questions about your organization:

  • Why is customer experience important to our business, customers and employees?
  • What decisions and capabilities drive our performance?
  • How will we operate differently?

Think Outside-In 

Start with your customers in mind. Think differently and look to the outside (your customers) first and how your business processes and technology support your customer experience initiatives. In my example, there was obviously an issue with people, leadership and the processes around fixing a slow internet speed. If the customer was always right or they wanted to hear my feedback, I likely wouldn’t have spent 11 hours discussing the same problem over the phone. Everything should be centered around your customers.

outside in

Only a modern operating model allows you to deliver on your company’s brand promise. By doing this, organizations will see top-line revenue growth and a deeper, more loyal customer experience.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Phone: 312-602-4000
222 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60606
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