Customer service lesson? Offer services that actually *SERVE*!

If your company is going to offer a service, make sure it works. That’s the lesson I learned recently when dealing with my local phone company, which is also my Internet Service Provider.  When a bill was due on July 5, the day after a holiday, I discovered that the online bill-paying system offered by the company actually didn’t work.  It’s not that it didn’t work that day or that I was just unable to figure out how to make it work. It didn’t work and the company admitted it didn’t work.  Discovering this just as the bill was due raised my irritation level to Yellow.

A call to the customer service line led to a recorded message informing me that the office was closed for the holiday weekend, leaving me with no way to pay the  bill on time in order to avoid finance charges. Irritation level now?  Orange.

Next, a trip to the company’s Facebook Page where I left a comment about my displeasure with the online bill paying system. A few minutes later, a company representative responded on Facebook and asked me to contact them directly by email and she would “have someone reach out to you.” [To their credit, the company was at least monitoring its social media for customer comments.]

I emailed with an explanation of the problem and received a quick response (from the same person) telling me I could pay the bill via phone. For an extra fee. Irritation level now? Red.

The representative noted that “We are aware that our online bill pay feature is not as useful as it should be.”

Ahem.

It’s almost hard to keep track of the various customer service blunders inherent in this one experience with the company.  If I had any choice in providers in this area (I don’t), this company would be history.

A customer service evaluation program such as that provided by Customer Perspectives could help this company figure out if the problem here was with its initial training programs for employees, its processes for handling complaints, its online properties or all three.

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