Customer Service: Profit or Loss

By Scott Hornstein

freeGraphicToday / Pixabay

I took a few minutes and googled Customer Service, and here are some of the definitions I found:

  • Customer service is the process of ensuring customer satisfaction with a product or service [Investopedia].
  • Getting customer interactions right has never been more important, especially since social media has given unhappy customers a louder voice [HBR].

Makes sense, and I’m going to assume we all agree with the above statements. However, in practice, customer service is an area that can be taken for granted, overlooked, or considered a cost center and treated as such.

Customer Service “Death by a Thousand Cuts”

Here is a sad story of bizarro customer service actively undermining brand and customer satisfaction while wildly inflating the cost of delivery. I do not believe that lightning struck me, that I am the exception.

I have had a subscription to my hometown newspaper for about 30 years (and my hometown is among the largest on the planet). I decided to become a digital subscriber when the most recent cost of delivery was subtracted from my credit card. I called the same day and was assured that the switch to digital was immediate, that my checking account would be charged for the digital subscription, and the home delivery charge would be refunded.

The next day I looked at my online statement and the new charge was there but not the refund.

  • I went to chat under Contact Us and was assured that everything was fine and that someone from billing would call me that afternoon or the next day to straighten everything out.
  • No one called, so I did. I was told it takes 90 days to get a refund. I asked for a supervisor and was transferred to someone who identified as “an advocate.” They started to argue with me.
  • Next, I got a gentleman who apologized for the runaround. Since it was late on a Friday and the billing department was closed, he would call me back at 10am Monday morning, and we would both speak to billing “and find out what it will take to get your money back right now.”
  • On Monday, I waited until early afternoon, called, and asked to be transferred to him. I was told it was not possible, but they asked to help. I explained the situation and they said that someone from billing would call me back that afternoon.

I Saw This Play

I completed the email form on their website. The form said it would take two to three days to get a response. Sure enough. On the third day, I got an email that said it takes ten to fourteen business days to get a refund and that there was no way to make it happen quicker. Included was a GIF of an iron door clanging shut.

On the fifteenth business day, I called to inquire about my refund. I spoke to a supervisor who told me that the refund had been transferred to my account several days ago, but it would not appear on Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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