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Customer Service Outsourced And Ineffective?

Dec 7, 2007
Most business owners admit that customer service is an important function in their online business. However, more and more business owners are outsourcing customer support functions as a means of reducing overall costs and potential internal stress.

In many cases these customer service representatives log complaints, but have virtually no authority to take any immediate action to help a customer deal with their immediate problems. They can let the customer know they have logged the complaint and a representative will be contacting them.

The truth is some of these customer service centers answer the phone for numerous businesses and aren't actually acquainted with anyone from the main office nor are they personally acquainted with every product they represent. These individuals simply serve in a call center based on a contract with the originating business for the purpose of accepting customer service questions and complaints.

It is possible for a disgruntled customer to speak with several representatives with no meaningful results. All of the individuals will likely agree a problem exists, but without the authority to actually supply a solution for the problem it simply makes the customer feel as if they are imitating a dog chasing its tale and the customer service rep hates feeling as though their hands are tied or they become slightly jaded and try not to become emotionally attached to any singular problem experienced by callers.

The impression can often be that there is no one willing or able to help customers come to grips with their problem.

A friend of mine battled with a customer service center for two months to get a repair on a purchase. This individual had purchased an extended warranty and the item would not work the day after it was installed in their home.

Promises were made, callbacks were promised and the item sat unused when frustration settled in like clouds in Oregon.

The issue was only resolved when my friend threatened to take the issue to the Better Business Bureau by a certain date if the covered repairs weren't taken care of.

While the repair was taken care of quickly once this threat was made, it really shouldn't be this way.

I'm not even saying that call centers are necessarily a bad idea, but there needs to be a solid framework for addressing customer complaints and providing quality customer service.

Some companies are empowering call centers with certain latitude in making decisions on behalf of the company. Obviously this isn't a free for all, but they are allowed to work to satisfy the customer within certain bounds. Calls that cannot be satisfied are sent to the originating company and a specialized onsite customer service rep assumes control of the issue.

I understand the need for cost cutting measures in business, but the ability to retain customers may rest on the ability to follow-up and follow-through with customers.

If your current plan isn't working maybe you should take some time to completely evaluate your customer service process and define a better way to retain those valued customers.
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