June 30, 2012

What Is Customer Service?

I've been working in some form of customer service role for the better part of my entire work career. Everything from McDonalds at 16 to my current position as a tech rep and everything in between. Over the years, I've watched, listened and learned. Not just from fellow employees, but from customers.

It's gotten to the point, that I can take the average irate customer and calm them down and help solve their issues. The ones who don't, oh well.

Not to my surprise, I read an article today based on the, The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) reports. The company I currently work for was ranked the in the top 15 most hated companies in the US out of 255. Damn were shooting for the stars here.

Upon further reading, it states we plummeted 6% to an industry low of 66 out of 100 points for landline customer service. The best part about this? The companies only three fucking years old. Guess that's what happens when you get bought out by greed.

Here's the thing though. The company has a set of so called "Unifying Principles." A set of what you might say are ethics, that it's supposed to stand by.  But alas, the employees can't even get the board, supervisors or anyone to stand by them. Even the company as a whole doesn't stand by them. Let's have a look at them, (they can be found on the companies website).

Fairness – The Golden Rule
We will strive to:
• Exercise fairness in all dealings with customers.
• Treat business associates fairly in all transactions.
• Compensate and promote employees in an equitable manner.
• Be fair in efforts to meet and exceed the expectations of our shareholders.
• Treat others as we would like to be treated.

Honesty and Integrity
We will:
• Be truthful in all dealings with customers, employees, shareholders, business associates and the general public.
• Strive to conduct ourselves in a manner that will merit the respect of customers, employees, shareholders, business
associates and the general public.

Commitment to Excellence
We will strive to:
• Provide high-quality services and products in an efficient manner.
• Deliver the best possible customer experience.
• Provide favorable long-term value to our shareholders.

Positive Attitude
We will strive to:
• Emphasize the positive in all dealings with customers, employees, shareholders, business associates and the general
• Approach every task in a positive manner with energy and enthusiasm.

We will strive to:
• Maintain genuine concern for fellow employees, customers, shareholders and business associates.
• Recognize and respect each employee, each customer, each shareholder and each business associate as an

We will strive to:
• Maintain confidence in our abilities as individuals to fulfill our assigned responsibilities.
• Trust in the capabilities of our company leaders and fellow employees.
• Have confidence that the strength of our combined, collaborative efforts will lead us to fulfill our company mission.

We will strive to:
• Continue to work toward our mission, goals and objectives in spite of obstacles and in a manner consistent with our
Unifying Principles.

I can say with a good amount of certainty, these are a load of crock. Why is that? Well...

The company no longer gives new employees adequate training. Most of the new hires don't know anything about their job when they get out of maybe a week, two at most now of training. When I started, we had six weeks. We knew what we were doing when we hit the floor. They don't hire anyone with any computer skills for the tech positions. Most of the new hires in the tech positions can't even run a computer.

We have customers in permanent bandwidth exhausts because they won't spend the money to upgrade the infrastructure. We have customers in bandwidth exhausts that have been going on over 6 months and in some cases over a year. Why? They won't spend the money to fix it. Yet they will charge you full price for the service you don't get. And keep funneling money into new projects that they can't even get running smoothly. On top of that, the sales reps try to sell you higher speeds either knowing you wont get it, but they get sales credit. Or not knowing you can't get it because they were never properly trained.

If you have our IPTV service, you get preferential treatment when it comes to dispatches. Meaning, your dispatches takes precedence over someone who doesn't have the IPTV service, even though they had tickets in first.But you don't get decent troubleshooting skills because it's not allowed.

They want to keep their cash cow tech support in outsourced centers instead of in house, and keep the basics of all support to a low level knowledge support. While training on outdated processes and procedure with broken tools. Which, the processes and procedure are written by people who have boldly claimed, they don't know how to take the calls they written the shit for. Can you say, teach me how to replace a points and condenser in your car when you don't know what the fuck it is?

How about taking so much away from it's employees, that the morale and attitudes is so low and make them loose money on their 401k's because you forced them to invest their money when they have no control over it. Or how about writing up an employee because he had to leave work a few hours early because his wife was in a car accident and didn't know if she was alright?

How is it fair to employees when they have one department doing the jobs of five other departments with no raise, no thanks but a "you're not meeting your numbers" attitude? Or even the fact that, you can work at home for the company. But you have to live in territory, which is fine. But force the employee to buy the services just for work? And if there is a network outage because of equipment failure, take it out of the employees paid time off? Not fair. Don't hire employees for work at home that can't go to the office if and when it always happens.

How is it fair, honest and show any respect to a customer, when the service they pay for is always broken. And yet all you can do is band aid it until they call in again tomorrow? Or buy off politicians in states to prevent a city from running it's own infrastructure because you don't want to service the area, yet don't want no one else to either?

And there is no commitment to excellence when even the engineers say were shooting ourselves int he foot with our own product because it doesn't work.  Yet it continues to be pushed and pushed to distances that shouldn't have it, thus upsetting the customer base even further,

I can see why our company made this list. They don't care about anyone but the share holders that can make them more money. They cut cost and corners so much, they don't see a straight line of sight anymore. If they would actually take a step back, look, listen and learn, then word of mouth and articles like this won't bare effect on us anymore.

I can say I no longer wake in the morning, knowing I have to go into work. It's an Aw Fuck moment each day. The fun of the job has all but been funneled away.

They tell us, "well, you're only getting the calls from the broken ones." Obviously it's all broken or lists like this would never mention our name. Or even get a whiff of us.



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