Companies, If Your CSRs Aren't Empowered, You're Doing It Wrong

So you call a company with a problem, right? After navigating a series of voice prompts, you eventually get to a live person. You think, alright, great someone can help me. Well, not really because this person often cannot do anything but take your contact information and run through a series of basic troubleshooting steps that generally starts with power cycling. Everything else needs to be approved by a supervisor or handled by someone else, which causes the already irritated customer to be placed on hold or worse yet, told someone will call them later. This begs the question of why is it this way? Why aren’t these front line people empowered?

Most companies fall into this bucket I’ve found. TiVo is one of them as I’ve discovered over the last week — horrible customer experience that’s going to cost them my account but that’s all I’m going to say. Instead, a few companies have surprised me lately and deserve a small shootout from this rather short soapbox of mine. D-Link nailed Customer Service 101 when I had issues with the Boxee Box this week. Logitech keeps the line of communication open even after the phone call ends through follow up emails and such. But one poor experience can taint a person’s perspective forever. Hear that, TiVo?

The Boxee Box launched late last week and I finally got our review model on Monday. Hooking up a gadget for the first time is magically and the Boxee Box didn’t disappoint — until it died. Well, until it died, came back to life, and died again. So I sunk down in my chair and called D-Link.

*Bbb-ring* *Bbbb-ring* “Thank you for calling D-Link, how may I help you.”

Me, in my head, “What the hey? This is a live person.” I hung up. I was convinced that I dialed the wrong number. There was no voice prompt, just a live person after a few short rings and I didn’t expect that. I checked the number and called back. Sure enough, I had the right number and this dude asked what I was having trouble with. I told him my Boxee Box was shutting off randomly and he went in full-on troubleshooting mode. Amazing, I thought. The guy that answered the phone is the guy that’s going to help me.

D-Link put the right person with the right credentials and knowledge on the front line. Now a couple times he had to consult other agents concerning my issue, but that’s fine. The Boxee Box is very new and people should ask for help when they don’t know the answer. From start to finish, D-Link did a great job.

Logitech is known for their service after the sale. Sure, sometimes incidents are escalated up to another level of techs which often extends the issue another day or two, but the constant emails from the reps are reassuring. It’s almost like they’re saying your issue isn’t forgotten; that it’s not lost in some queue somewhere. This is what sets them apart. That, and they don’t seem to mind replacing items years after the warranty expires.

Some companies make customer service a priority and so do not. Often the fails are the only ones that are talked about because they’re sensational headlines. There’s a clear trend lacing through all the success stories: the customer service person has the knowledge and ability to actually help the troubled soul. If escalation needs to happen, communication is timely and prompt. All people want is to reach someone that knows what they’re doing and can help. Make that happen, companies. If not, you’ll probably end up in a headline next to the phrase Epic Fail.