Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"It's nothing personal, It's Just Business"

Virgin Mobile, I hope you read this... we had an issue with your service MONTHS ago (blogged about it here), it was never adequately resolved so we NO LONGER do business with you. Guess what? You are still finding ways to annoy the former customer.

***WARNING: This is a rant from BOTH SIDES of the Customer Service line.***
(managers of Customer Service NEED to read this.)

“It's not personal, it's just business.” --I've always had an issue with this phrase.

First, it's often used to dismiss someone who has been hurt by something very personally. Yeah, the lay off might NOT be about the employee who has been laid off, but it doesn't mean that that employee's pain isn't just a deep and personal. Being dismissive of pain you’ve been a part of inflicting is VERY PERSONAL, and at best rude. How about a simple “I’m sorry”?
Second, why shouldn't business BE personal? Why shouldn't it ALSO be about the human to human contact in the transaction? Why does management in so many businesses punish the employee who tries to make them aware of a customer's issue, or even gasp actually take more time with a particular customer to actually try to RESOLVE the issue?
“You are spending too much time taking care of Mr. Smith that you weren't taking as many calls.” Never mind that Mr. Smith is the tip of an ice berg of problems NOT being resolved in the 3 minute calls he's made 10 times to address the SAME issue, with 10 different CS reps. Taking those 10 calls, at 3 minutes each, and NOT solving his problem is NOT customer service. The calls answered rate looks good, but there's no one counting the Problems Unresolved Rate, or the Pissed Off Customer Rate.
Third, it's not “good customer service” to keep calling a customer, month after month, who had an issue that went unresolved, to keep “reminding them” to renew or update their account, or begging them to come back. Especially, when they were trying to close the account after several calls, emails (each with a different person) failed to find the problem, resolve the problem or reassure the customer that the company does indeed give a shit, or care about customer service. These calls are NOT about an outstanding bill. Rather “we noticed you haven’t called or purchased more service/goods from us lately.” As a disguised sales pitch. Worse is when this is a recorded bot calling, and set up so that it’s NOT possible to get a human being to say “for the love of the flying spaghetti monster JUST STOP CALLING!” Pushing a sales pitch to a customer who left because they were angry is NOT good customer service. It’s not even good human relations.

“It’s not personal, it’s just business” is a failure to connect to the other person, and probably damaging the business. STOP, THINK, BE HUMAN.

for more extended story of dealing with VM It took 3 weeks, 15+ calls & emails each with a different person, to be offered a CREDIT. We had asked for a REFUND as we had replaced service after the first WEEK of getting nowhere.


BZTAT said...

“It's not personal, it's just business.” BOO HISS!

One of the things that I like about Twitter and blogs is that it gets us back to making business personal. Business should be about relationships, not forcing a product or service on someone. Social media gives folks a chance to get to know you and value your business instead of just pushing merch.

Great post!


trinlayk said...

In the other direction, Befriending the customer,& actually working to solve the problem, even if it means giving a refund... means the customer won't see you as an adversary.

Ophelia Chong said...

yeesh. Good customer service keeps me around, bad makes me run the other way. What i like about verizon is that they are always trying to save me money. which is what i like.

:O) great post trin.