C.S.I.- Customer Service Investigator
One of the benefits of my side-by-side coaching with customer service representatives is that I not only get to hear customers share their concerns about their garbage service, but I get to find out whether or not the company has a working process for investigating and solving repeat service issues. The conversation below is based on an actual customer conversation. It is a perfect case study for us to use to talk about the importance of developing your team’s investigative skills to improve customer service. Service issues can’t be solved if the real problem has not been identified and there must be a clear procedure regarding your repeat issues.
Customer: Hi Mary, it’s Susan Brooks. CSR: Hi Susan! What may I help you with today? Customer: You guys missed us again. I don’t get it. We have been with you for a month. You missed us 3 weeks in a row and finally we had our trash picked up last week. Now we were missed again yesterday. CSR: I am so sorry Susan. Let me see if we can get a hold of the driver. Customer: I don’t understand why my trash only gets picked up if I call. If it’s not fixed once and for all I am going to cancel. CSR: I have no idea what the driver’s problem is. Can you hold while I ask the dispatcher if he can have the driver pick you up today? CSR to Dispatcher: Can you send the driver to pick up 123 North Avenue today? The customer was missed again. Dispatcher: Let me call the driver and see where he is. CSR to Customer: The driver will be back before the end of the day.
Put on your C.S.I. hat and let’s dig into what was really happening with this customer’s garbage service.
The details in red are key clues with this particular situation. What happened that the customer was only picked up once within the first month?
- New driver or swing driver
- Stop not routed
Although A, B or C could be the reason behind the miss, C was the correct answer for this specific customer. The CSR did not route the customer’s address when service was set up and no one caught it in 3 subsequent conversations. The customer was picked up only once since service started and that was because she called the morning of her service day and the dispatcher called the driver to remind him to pick up the address. Neither customer service nor operations had a plan to investigate and correct the repeat issue once and for all. Customer service representatives and dispatchers need a reminder to check routing both for new starts and service issues.
Repeat service issue calls are longer and more heated. Customer Service and Sales representatives become discouraged and embarrassed when there are repeat issues. When they see that customers are calling multiple times for the same issue they can lose control and add in sarcastic comments such as, “I have no idea what the driver’s problem is.” Or, they may tell your customer to call the corporate office to lodge a complaint because they feel helpless.
When customer service isn’t clear on what the procedure is regarding repeat misses they often times tell the customers what they want to hear versus explaining the process to monitor the stop and make a permanent correction. “Let me call” the driver turns into “the driver will be back” even if that may not be true. An example of an effective response would be: I will escalate this to Jason our operations manager. We will monitor your service which means we will have the driver report in when he is at your house. Would you like me to follow up with you through e-mail or a phone call?
Service issues with your acquisitions need a special C.S.I. approach.
During a visit to a hauling company I noticed that many customers were calling saying their trash was missed. The fact was that the service the customers received before the acquisition was different and the customers were both angry and confused about what they were getting now. The CSRs needed to go further with their assessment and their solutions to turn a difficult customer into a content customer. Customer Service representatives needed to be intentional about verifying how many carts the customer had versus what showed in the database, whether the cart was properly labeled, and if it was a personal cart versus one provided by the company. Each of these facts were important to correct the service issues and to help the CSR provide proper definition of services.
Make an investment in training your customer service and operations teams to be good Customer Service Investigators. Their improved performance will save everyone time, money and aggravation.