Alright, so here it is the weekend and time for me to rant a little. The subject of this post is customer service! Customer service is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. In my current career I deal with clients every day of the week. As I have mentioned in the past, I work in the financial industry so customer service is a huge aspect of my current job. Every time I speak with a client I look for things that may help them out. Sure they may simply call in because they want to know the mil rate of a bond or some sort of performance number for a particular security. I always give them that information in a timely fashion, but I like to always offer them a little more. I mean who would honestly want to know that information for just every day knowledge. Obviously there is something there that they may be thinking of doing and I owe it to them to make sure and ask them about it. Sure it helps keep business and quite frankly that is a good thing in such a roller coaster economy.
So where am I going? This definitely does not seem like a rant post correct? Well, we are still working on building why customer service is such a major thing to me. Prior to my current job I worked for another large financial corporation in what they called Quality Assurance. You know when you call a financial institution and they say that the call may be recorded for quality assurance, well I was the guy who would listen to those calls. The good, the bad, and the down right ugly. I actually established the quality assurance group at our site. I was basically responsible for providing monitors to every associate who took a phone call and then providing feedback and reporting to the managers at various levels. On a side not that was a great job. I really loved it, but unfortunately it was a casualty of the down turn in the market and was consolidated to a different location. My point is that I have a passion for good customer service. I find it unacceptable when you (or I) provide bad customer service.
So this past week I went to a local McDonalds that use to provide excellent customer service. You know what I mean. You placed an order, they took it correctly, filled it correctly and didn't skim on the fries. I pretty much only like McDonalds because of their fries, sad but true story. I was raised that Sundays are the Lord's day and that we really did not do much cooking or anything as a kid. We woke up went to church and then went to McDonalds. Then it was home to sleep and then back to the evening service. Well, I have gotten older and do not hold true to the whole going and coming to services like when I was a child, but I still like my Sundays as the one day of a week where I do nothing. Watch football, basketball, or whatever, but take it easy. I also still go to McDonalds. Yes, I know this is not healthy food, but it is only one day a week. So I have noticed over the course of the last few weeks that their customer service has absolutely sucked. They have been getting orders wrong, skimming on the fries, making you wait for quite a while for whatever reason, and all around bad attitudes by the workers. Now having worked in a customer service driven field, I know that there are those days where it hurts to smile and be nice, but you have to push through it. Sometimes you suceed more than others. However, it has been weeks now and my patience is not very great. Actually having come home this past week from a down right miserable experience, I have decided that perhaps it would just be better to buy some burgers, fries, and the rest of the fixings and just make our own food.
However, it brought about a good conversation about business in general in todays society. With the way that the economy is and prices rising constantly with no end in site, it would benefit businesses that deal with the public to become more customer focused. For instance call center jobs, people are often expected to meet certain time restraints on calls not because it helps the customer, but it saves the company money. I think that this is completely incorrect thinking. Having been the person who monitored those calls for a while, when there is an error it costs the company money. Often times these errors occurr because people are in a hurry, and I do not mean clients. Customers would call for help and want the issue resolved. The employee is simply focused on trying to meet their performance metrics and in most cases, while not intentionaly, could not care at all about the clients respect. Then what happens is the client will call back, thus taking more time for another employee which will cost the company money, and this may occur multiple times before something is resolved. Another thing that would happen is the situation may require someone who has a higher job to call the client back. A higher job typically means more pay. It also takes that individual away from other projects or jobs that they should be doing. See what I mean here? It costs more money in the long run for mistakes and errors, but companies do not see it that way. They want the phone answered and the problem "addressed".
So what about in retail or fast food? Well, while I was sitting in line this last week, the car in front of me had a problem with their order and it delayed the whole line. A few people pulled away and left without odering. In other words they lost potential money. Then I go and try to get my order, only to find that there was a mistake. So I had to wait along with the rest of the folks in a "fast food" drive through, talk about oxymorons. While I sat there two more cars pulled out. So in the fifteen minutes from placing my order to leaving the establishment, four cars pulled away. That is four customers who did not spend their hard earned money at that location. On top of that, I as a consumer who go there weekly has decided that I will start buying my own food instead of being aggrevated.
So my point to this rant is that I think society as a whole needs to reexamine their values and what we see as customer service. Sure there are folks who want an answer or a meal right away, but they would be much more statisfied if they did not need to call back or wait additional time to have something corrected that they had to find and make the business aware of. Also, if we did not put time constraints on the employees of these establishments and businesses, then they would not feel the pressure to answer a call or prepare a meal in a certain amount of time where they may try to cut corners to save time. Makes sense does it not?
Now to tie this in with World of Warcraft. A lot of folks are always complaining about Blizzard and their service. I will admit that you do not get an answer right away when you call, but when they answer their phones, they are courteous and focused on their callers needs. They know where to direct you to get an issue resolved and for those situations where it will take time, they let you know up front and have you fill a form out. I know it is no fun sitting and waiting to hear from them, but I have found it true that every issue or problem I have called them about from simple billing questions to my wife's account being hacked, they have always been on top of it and resolved the situation in a time that was fitting and got it correct the very first time. So good job to Blizzard, I wish more companied would utilize this type of a business model to make sure that they got it right the first time.
Now if only their patch days were as smooth and well done, but that may signify the apocalypse is upon us.