Thursday, July 25, 2013

Customer Service that Nearly Brought Me to Tears

And it was NOT happy tears from being overwhelmed with an incredible act of service.
Recently I had to order textbooks from a major publisher for my daughter. I attempted
to do it online however I could not get through the security check. To order the algebra
books, an account was required. At the end of filling in my information, I was asked to
prove I was a real person by retyping the letters and numbers. After about 12 attempts,
I gave up and assumed something was wrong with the website. I tried again the next
morning and had the same problem. This also caused me to wonder why is this security
check necessary to order an educational textbook.

As a last resort, the 800 number was my option. It was an amazing laborious process.
I gave my name, address, credit card and email three times to the same person, while
doing my best to keep my voice calm and even. Finally she gave me the total due which
was $62 more than the site quoted. She assured me that after my account was set up and
approved in 24 hours, the lower price would be applied. I’ve yet to figure that out. After
30 minutes, my frustration level and amazement at the inadequate service left me close to

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I discovered the online version was
required and not the hard copy textbook. Then back on the phone to cancel the previous
order, she had to check if it was possible to cancel. Fortunately, it was and the online
version was ordered. She needed all my information one more time. She was less than
enthusiastic but got the job done.

Two days later, a phone call came requesting my email address. I had given it to them at
least 4 times. It is truly beyond me that a major publisher could be this bad. My guess is
the systems and processes are the problem, which really means leadership is the culprit
and doesn’t have a clue. Or they know they have a monopoly on many textbooks and just
don’t care about the customer experience.

So what are the lessons for you? Ask these questions –
- What does your customer go through with your service processes and how
 much do poor systems cost you? 

- What happens online that causes them to give up and finally call you? (In my 
case, they will never know)

- What might you be doing that brings your customer to tears due to your 
inadequate service?