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How Do You Avoid Bad Customer Service and Do Better?

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Author: Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Almost all of us would agree that customer service plays a huge role in an organizations’ growth. After all, the reason for your existence is your paying customers, and you do your level best to service them in the best possible manner.

Now, I will talk about some real-time experiences of customer service and how terrible they were. What can be done to better them?

Terrible customer service – Example 1

I have two insurance policies from the same provider, and I needed details on my eligibility for a loan on both of those policies. So, I called up their customer care number. An IVR menu handled my request, and it gave me multiple options. It took about 2 minutes on the IVR to reach the option I needed.

Then, I was asked to key in my policy number, mobile number, and date of birth. After that, the IVR gave me a couple of options before I got an opportunity to talk to a customer service representative.

Now, I had to repeat my policy number and confirm my date of birth before the agent could listen to my query. I asked for my loan eligibility on the policy, and the agent promptly looked up and said that my policy was eligible for a loan, and she told me the amount that I was eligible for. Then, I requested that she do the same for my other policy.

She responded, stating that I have to call the number again and key in the other policy number before an agent can divulge that information. Her system does not allow her to look up information otherwise.

I did not want to go through that information and decided to visit their branch instead.  

How do you address this?

You won’t face this issue if you have an integrated customer service platform across all channels and your IT systems. You will have to identify the customer by a unique number, and it can be as simple as their mobile phone number. This way, you would have access to every piece of information about the customer, their interactions, the products and services they have bought from you, and its validity.

In this case, the agent could have easily accessed all the information and helped the customer with his queries.

Terrible customer service – Example 2

I was going through the online store of large retail, and I liked some of the merchandise that I saw. They also had the option of buying them online and picking them up in-store. However, I thought I would check out the stuff before making the purchase. So, I went to the physical store.

The price at the retail store was 20% higher than the online store, and I called one of the executives and showed her the discrepancy in pricing. I asked the retail store to match the online pricing, and I was directed to the manager. The manager denied the request stating company policies.

Now, I went to their online store, made the purchase, showed that purchase proof, picked up the stuff from their physical store, and left. This situation presented an opportunity for the staff at the retail store to provide outstanding customer service, but they refused.

How do you address this?

You won’t face this issue if you have an integrated platform across all channels and your inventory system. Your system would have fetched the price from your inventory system, and there wouldn’t be any discrepancy between channels. Besides, even when there was a discrepancy, there should be an option for the manager to override the pricing and provide outstanding customer service.

Terrible customer service – Example 3

One of the elders in my family has a mobile subscription. He keeps getting several promotional messages on his phone. By mistake, he clicked on a promotional message sent by the mobile service provider asking him to subscribe to a streaming service. The yearly subscription fee got added to his subsequent bill, and it was delivered.

Now, he was worried about this added amount. So, he tried reaching customer care, and despite trying multiple times over two hours, he couldn’t reach any customer service representative.

Finally, he had to go to their nearby office and spend another couple of hours resolving this.

How do you address this?

Your customer service platform should provide the convenience of reaching an agent to the customer, especially when you are a mobile service provider. You would be dealing with millions of customers who are technologically challenged.

If there was an option to speak to a customer service agent right at the beginning, this elderly person could have chosen that and resolved his issue. He wouldn’t have had to go through the ordeal of spending 4 hours fixing this.

About the Author: Uthaman Bakthikrishnan


Uthaman believes in the power of creation - it gives him a high to grow something from scratch and make it sustainable. Uthaman is the Executive Vice President and helps set the strategic direction and roadmap for ClearTouch, a pioneering provider of a cloud-based call center platform for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and financial services companies in India.