Portable Empire island at Second Life, was the scene of a not so formal interview between the avatars of Mooie Infinity (Kate Loving Shenk) and Magic Becky Messmer (Becky Rhone-Nowlan), fellow Second Life pal and Customer Service expert. Becky's first e-book, "Secrets of the Second Fortune" will be released in the next several weeks. Mooie Infinity: Great place to do an interview, (sitting by the beautiful lavender fountain, overlooking Portable Empire Island). MagicBecky Messmer: I agree :) Mooie Infinity: So I would start out by saying: that Customer Service is one of the most overlooked treasures business could be engaging in. But they sadly shirk it.
Since you have been in the CS (Customer Service) field and have great reverence for it, I think you are one of the best people to ask some serious Customer Service questions to. Why do you think businesses shirk intelligent Customer Service? MagicBecky Messmer: In many cases I think it's because most people perceive it as difficult. It means they have to actually take the time to communicate with the customer. How many people today really know how to listen? Mooie Infinity: Do you think the problem is that communication skills are lacking? Listening being a big one there? MagicBecky Messmer: In many cases, yes. I think we have become a me/me society and that plays a lot into it. For whatever reason, we have stopped taking responsibility- and taking responsibility seriously.
I had an issue with a well known marketer and his CS guys whole communication was about how it wasn't his fault I had this problem. At that point I didn't care. I just wanted it solved. He finally said he was done with me because i was uncooperative and sent it to the marketer.
Mooie Infinity: So when businesses refuse to take responsibility and blame the customer, then that's when the whole thing falls apart? MagicBecky Messmer: Of course. It takes so little to really make your customers your fan. With the guy I was having a problem with, up until he said he was done with me, he still could have won me over. All he would have had to do was say, I understand why you are angry and this is what i am going to do. In fact, I had a customer call today because she hadn't received her records and one of the other reps said that I was going to have to do a little song and dance when explaining why we hadn't shipped them. I got on the phone and said Pat, I am very sorry.
For some reason the records haven't shipped. Let me send an email and see what I can do to get you an answer and get them shipped to you asap. My number is (and i gave her my number). I will personally make sure this gets taken care of. If you don't have them by Monday at noon call me.
She was ecstatic! No muss no fuss. The other rep said, Wow! Just straight forward truth! Cool! Mooie Infinity: That is going the extra mile--the buck stops here sort of philosophy--and we need more of that. MagicBecky Messmer: It's all about intention, which goes back to responsibility. As long as you tell them "what you are going to do to solve the problem" and then make sure you do it, of course. I think it's because you are showing trust in them. Most people will pick up on that Mooie Infinity: Yes--so CS service is outsourced routinely these days.
Why is this such a trend? MagicBecky Messmer: Real quick point and then to your question. The CEO I learned service from, had a real liberal return policy and we paid for return freight. Someone asked him once, Aren't you worried that the customers will abuse the policy? His answer was, Yes, some will.
Mooie Infinity: Most won't MagicBecky Messmer: But more will appreciate that we are taking care of them and those are the customers that are important to me. Mooie Infinity: Creating friends and relationships, not enemies. MagicBecky Messmer: Exactly! And it works. Mooie Infinity: Fans as you say.
MagicBecky Messmer: As for the outsourcing? That's an easy answer with multiple layers. It's about money, the almighty dollar. Mooie Infinity: When you outsource, you barely pay them anything to do the job? MagicBecky Messmer: Companies here in the US don't have to pay them much, a few dollars an hour- you don't have to pay benefits and you don't have workman's comp insurance.
In addition you don't have a building to pay upkeep and monthly bills on. Mooie Infinity: I have had experience talking to these outsourced CS people and it's been a nightmare--communication at its worst. And I got the feeling that the language barrier was at the heart of the problem. MagicBecky Messmer: The sad thing is, the people who lose out is the customer, and of course ultimately the company when customers stop doing business cause they are angry. Mooie Infinity: Yes--in the end you go out of business.
MagicBecky Messmer: The company I work for has a group of people we "affectionately" call the I team. Can you guess what the I stands for? Mooie Infinity: Intelligent? MagicBecky Messmer: Yeah. It's a constant struggle trying to read the notes. And then the things they interpret as what I have asked gets ludicrous. I had one location that had never returned a call and this was after months of our I team leaving messages. So I called and left a message and got a return call the next day.
She said the reason she called me back is she could understand me. She said she would rewind the message over and over and just had no clue what was being said. You are right. It's a quick fix that will come back to bite them.
I think what you said earlier is really right on. People are getting sick and tired of trying to communicate with people who don't speak the language fluently or even well. Mooie Infinity: Computer services routinely outsource their customer service.
Apple does not and they have wonderful CS. Comcast has good customer service. Credit card companies make it almost impossible to get any help.
We had a computer system at our hospital called Iprob. One of the major reasons we had to abandon the system was very poor customer service. Again, a language slash communication barrier.
All the CS people were in Israel were very difficult to understand. Also were not always available. MagicBecky Messmer: When a customer is irritated because something has gone wrong, the last thing they want to do is to try to explain it to someone who flat doesn't understand.
The whole point of problem resolution is to calm the customer down so they can hear what you have to say. Which by the way brings up the difference between customer service and problem resolution. Mooie Infinity: Customer service and problem resolution? Explain. To be continued.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=--=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Kate Loving Shenk is a writer, healer, musician and the creator of the e-book called "Transform Your Nursing Career and Discover Your Calling and Destiny." Click here to find out how to order the e-book: http://www.nursingcareertransformation.com Check Out Kate's Blog: http://www.nursehealers.typepad.com -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-