Is the customer really always right?

Is the customer really always right?

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When reviewing customer feedback of any kind, it is easy at first glance to take customer comments at face value…the customer IS always right, right?  Customers are very skilled at identifying the existence of a problem, but less adept and determining the root cause.  It is natural for the customer to place blame on call center agents for making mistakes because these are the employees within the organization they interact with the most.  But as we all know, there are many other departments that significantly affect the customer experience.  In general, customers are likely to not consider these departments because they do not interface with them and do not understand your back office.  Any one of these departments could make a mistake on a transaction to cause a customer to contact the call center and be quite angry.  While we as call center industry professionals know this, the problem still needs to be identified (and quantified) in order for changes to be made within the entire process.

customers-grade-the-callsTwo extremely important tools are needed to insure a proper diagnosis of where the organization is causing pain.  The first is Speech Analytics and the second is Survey Calibration.  Speech Analytics software, specifically Dial to Disconnect Analytics, provides end to end data on every customer interaction.  Without Dial to Disconnect you cannot see specifically where your customers are going, who they are interacting with in your organization and what is being discussed from a holistic perspective.  Combine this with a post-call survey and now you have the insights and actions that are enriched (and proven) with direction from the customer.  The Survey Calibration process provides opportunity to find Knuggets of wisdom that deliver Business Intelligence from the Voice of the Customer (VoC).

While yes, the customer IS always right, it just may not be the “right thing” that organizations need to change:

“Your customer service is an absolute disgrace.  I spoke with John from parts on December 23, 2010.  I assured him of the part I needed.  A washer the size of a quarter, that had two prongs on it.  He assured me he knew exactly what I was talking about.  Ten days later, today, I get in the mail a big propeller looking thing with a pipe hanging off it.  This is the part that John thought I needed after talking to me for almost a half an hour about a part the size of a quarter.  John should be fired.  I don’t know who he is.  He might be a nice guy, but he has no clue how to help customers.”
“Many years ago, this company was the best on the market.  It was number one.  I still feel that way, but lately, we’ve been buying your products and they don’t seem to stay together.  They fall apart.  What happened to the company?  Did they change?  Did the old people die and young people took over?  Is that what happened?  I could go on forever.”
“It seems that your representatives are trained by the company to just give a pat, rote answer.  We don’t know anything basically; call the repair center in your area.  It was just completely dissatisfying.  I felt that person had absolutely no knowledge about what they were talking about, and that they were just a customer service representative that could have just as easily been a greeter at Wal-Mart.”


About Dr. Jodie Monger

Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics and a pioneer in voice of the customer research for the contact center industry. Before creating CRMetrics, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.

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