Tuesday, September 6, 2011

For a technology company, XM Radio is really behind the customer service curve.

My husband is a subscriber of XM Radio. Recently it was time to renew his subscription. He got notification that his account would "Automatically" renew at a much higher rate than he had last year. The year before, he had called in and was offered a rate at HALF the automatic renewal figure. It was clearly in his renewal records, and as is the case with many companies, this “deal” was never offered for this renewal and he had to threaten to leave the service entirely before being offered a rate that should have been "automatic" to a current loyal customer.

He called this year and got a pleasant employee who took all of his account information. She was quite thorough, however could not renew at this same rate. She admitted that she “cannot do anything” and would have to transfer him to another department. He was routed to the retention group. His information was not transferred, another mistake. This always ups the hassle factor when the customer must repeat the reason for the call. Once my husband stated the reason for his call, the representative was quick to say, “No problem and happy to do this”. The rate remained the same and it turned into a very short interaction. Which is the way is should have been to start with.

So what is the story here? XM Radio, does not have the software or desire to "automatically" keep a loyal customer at a rate THEY offered in the first place. Then, one employee has her hands tied when it comes to serving customers and another is given authority to take care of customer’s reasonable requests. This company is living in the dark ages compared to service leaders. I bet employees are frustrated with their lack of ability to serve customers. These policies do not lead or help create engaged employees. And worse, the customers are frustrated with the customer experience.

Look at your systems and processes. Are you giving enough power to team members and putting more relevant information at their fingertips? The customer focus starts at the top. Hire well to start, train thoroughly, coach, empower appropriately and lead - it is an everyday job.


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