59 minutes and counting...
More often than not “customer service” is the definition of insanity, or at the very least extreme frustration. I must have been born under a lucky star because I am rarely subjected the inane, insane, incomprehensible morass that most so-called customer service represents.
Sitting enjoying my coffee the other morning, I was a bemused and then incredulous witness to my husband going through the frustration wringer on the phone to St George Customer Service. You know the wringer – where you come out the other end somewhat flattened by the experience and usually short an hour to two in your day.
What started innocently enough – a quick call to customer service to fix a simple internet issue – quickly escalated into farce as he was transferred into the loop of person after person who passed him on to the next person with no end in sight, each stop punctuated by another 20 minutes on hold. Yikes. No one seeming to know who the right person was to speak with.
45 minutes later he was still on hold...
There are so many brand issues here, not the least of which is that the first service representative of the bank obviously didn’t get the “being friendly is what we stand for memo” and was rude, dismissive and distinctly unhelpful.
I don’t pretend to have any answers about how to fix the appalling state of customer service in banking and telecommunications (two that seem particularly bad). But beyond the obvious brand disconnect there are some things to consider.
Training – when your people don’t know which area can fix a relatively simple issue you have a problem.
Attitude – we all know there is no more thankless job than customer service, you get yelled at, people get to you frustrated for reasons that aren’t your fault, even so a measure of helpfulness and respect would help the whole pill go down more easily and I suspect ease the tension for both sides.
Systems – why, oh why, oh why do organisations insist of creating the most convoluted systems and responsibilities, almost ensuring that something that should take a couple of minutes will take... 55 minutes and counting!
And when you want to make a complaint or speak to a supervisor about the service you received... yep you guessed it – back on hold...
Total time deficit of this customer service “experience” = 59 minutes!
See you next week.
Michel Hogan is a Brand Advocate. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia and in the United States, she helps organisations recognise who they are and align that with what they do and say, to build more authentic and sustainable brands. She also publishes the Brand thought leadership blog - Brand Alignment. is a Brand Advocate. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia and in the United States, she helps organisations recognise who they are and align that with what they do and say, to build more authentic and sustainable brands. She also publishes the Brand thought leadership blog - Brand Alignment.