Disappearing Customer Service
© Copyright 2009 Stephen A. Tanzer

What has been your experience when you contact a company with an issue or to get product support following a sale? Do you start out with great expectations that support service will match what you received at the time of sale? Perhaps this expectation was created by the way that the sales person handled your transaction. Regardless, now you just need support. Were your expectations met?

For many people, the customer service experience falls far short of any type of positive expectation that they have. They often rate it from good to poor to what today is being called “customer NO service” (the issue or need remains unresolved
I would like to share my observations about a disturbing trend of inferior customer service in many organizations and why I believe it is happening. Additionally, I want to share some steps that you as a customer can take to deal with such inadequate service.

Even in the best of times, many organizations can fail to deliver quality customer service. This typically is caused by the need to reduce costs and a shift in organizational priorities. Over the past two decades this is becoming more of the norm, rather than the exception. Examples of how organizations have changed their approach to customer service delivery include:
• Using technology to replace the human touch.
• Moving the customer service function off shore to an organization in another
country (where language and cultural differences can be a hurdle).
• Moving customer service out of the business to another domestic organization;
thereby, losing direct control over how their customers are serviced.
When you receive poor customer service you can experience frustration, anger,
dismay and other emotions. Upon reaching these levels of feelings it can leave
you wanting to get away by hanging up or leaving the place of business. This is
not the right answer. Poor customer service should not be tolerated and should
be addressed when it occurs.

Here are 10 tips to help you deal with poor customer service.
1. Remain calm and focused on your purpose for the call or visit to the store.
2. Never get into a shouting match.
3. If you believe you are getting no service ask to speak with a supervisor.
4. Get the name and employee number of the customer service agent who handled your
call or store visit.
5. If you are told no supervisor is available (which is happening more
frequently), ask that one call you back and ask for the name of the supervisor
who will be calling. Also ask when you can expect to receive a callback (most
organizations have a call back standard).
6. Should you not receive a call back within 1 – 2 days, assume they are not going
to return your call and it is now time to take action. Start by emailing or
calling the organizations headquarters. If sending an email, address it to the
President, but understand most times it will only be handled by their support
team. If calling get the organizations telephone number from websites like
www.Google.com and ask to speak with the Executive Support Group. This group
handles customer complaints and is empowered to do something about the problem.
Make sure you have all the details together before taking action. This includes
the names of people you spoke to regarding the problem.
7. State in the email or call your expectation of a response within 3 – 5 business
days.
8. If you get no response, you will then understand why you received the poor
customer service in the first place.
9. Remember you have the ultimate power. Take action with your wallet. Remove that
organization from your “approved” list of companies.
10.Share your experience with others and you will most likely hear similar
customer NO service experiences; confirming your decision to remove them from
your “approved” list.

Using this approach will lead to having a list of organizations who place a high value on their customers by providing quality service year after year. Show them that you value their commitment to quality service by continuing to buy their products.

Author's Bio: 

Steve Tanzer is co-founder and a Managing Partner of Global Performance Strategies LLC. (GPS), a company that provides performance consulting services by assessing organizational, environmental and staff human resource needs, then recommending and/or providing appropriate strategies to address identified challenges.

Steve has extensive experience in human resources development, sales, marketing and management over the past three decades in a variety of organizational environments. This background gives him a real-world perspective on the application of theory he has studied and used for several decades. Steve has held senior level management positions with global firms such as AT&T and MCI. After leaving the Telecommunications industry, Steve founded The PACE Group of Florida, a consulting firm specializing in HRD strategies and services. In that position, Steve led a team of professionals serving local, regional and national clients, such as Walt Disney World, AAA, FP&L, Norwegian Cruise Lines, IBM, RCCL. Steve has personally worked with many client executives by training them and their employees in presentation skills and effective communications. Additionally, Steve has conducted long range strategic planning within the Telecommunications industry.
At GPS, Steve focuses on assisting organizations and individuals develop innovative and practical strategies for improved workplace performance. His areas of expertise include communication, management and training program development, adult learning, customer service, and employee and organizational development.

Steve has served on the Business Advisory board of Seminole Community College where he held the Chairperson position for several years. Steve has served as an adjunct professor at SCC where he instructed programs in business and sales. Steve has been a guest lecturer on HR and HRD topics numerous times at Webster University and Rollins College graduate programs.

As a volunteer, Steve has a varied background serving numerous civic and community organizations over the years. He has served his community as a certified EMT and sworn police officer and has held instructor level credentials with the American Red Cross and American Heart Association.

Steve worked as a volunteer with the 1994 World Cup program in Orlando, coordinating security for the Orlando venue and the Irish National Soccer Team. He has been a member of the Local Planning Agency in his home community and has volunteered with the Central Florida INROADS program working with minority students to teach them effective presentation skills.

Steve holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing (Cum Laude) and an Associate Degree in Business Administration from the University of New Haven. Additionally, Steve has studied graduate level courses at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey plus has successfully completed numerous professional course work including programs on solution sales, leadership, managerial and engineering while at AT&T.