May 28, 2024

Does Your Customer Service Track Problems or Solve Problems?

By Paul Daniels

My last blog ended with good news. I finally got my car back on May 3, 2024, after the autobody shop received the sensors that had been on backorder since January.

My case agent was pleased they had sent out my sensor immediately and asked what else they could do for me. The next day I received an email asking how the interaction with the case agent went. After hitting 10, I started thinking about the customer service experience. I was happy I had my car back several days after my first call. However, the overall experience was terrible.

The manufacturer never reacted when the local dealer received complaints and inquiries from my autobody shop. Didn’t they realize that they represented the end user? I was curious how they found the sensors so fast. Did they rob Peter to pay Paul? Did another customer get my text extending their order another 30 days or more?

If you want first-class customer service, you need a better system than a case agent. In this case, all the companies involved had customer relationship management systems updated with notes and lead times. However, the systems did not create any reports that would sound an alarm after 30, 60 or 90 days in the queue, automatically opening a case at some point.

Companies often change production schedules to take care of the “squeaky wheel” or their best customers, causing them to push others’ lead times further out. This only shifts the problem to the next customer; now, two customers are upset. Something missing in all the notes on my sensors was the reason for the delay. This probably led to the lead time changing. We always train our customer service representatives to get good information the first time. Your customer may be upset that their order has been delayed, but it would be better to get them upset once with good information than having to call them again with an update about further delays.

In our industry, accurate information is the key to solving problems. Customers understand that lead time issues are part of the business. They want accurate information so they can plan their business around these issues. You don’t want to overpromise and underperform, which is the quickest way to lose customers.

Companies and their customers need trust. Having a customer service group that responds to issues before the customer is frustrated, gives them accurate information and follows up by doing what they say they will do will help your organization be first-in-class.

I hope Peter is not still waiting for his sensors.