Customer No-Service & Wasted Time and Money

I would like some economist to calculate the amount of time spent by people on trying to get customer service from companies and government agencies.

Then extract how much of that is done during work hours (mostly because that’s when customer service is available).

Then calculate how much money this wasted work time cost the economy.

I think I’ll write to Steven Dubner / Freakonomics Radio and suggest an episode just on that.

The customer no-service is getting worst. Only few companies (Chewy is a good example, McMaster-Carr is another) that are the exception, with customer service that really shine. I believe that over time these companies are the ones that will survive.

My analysis is that it all started with COOs and efficiency consultants that were pushing to optimize customer service cost, without understanding customer service, and/or being shortsighted to how it affects the people they are suppose to serve.

They took the tired customer service approach (first level, second level, developers) which worked great when done right, and butchered it. They figured that since first level cost per hour is so much lower, they should shield the other levels from getting any requests no matter what.

The goal of first level supper became to get rid of the problem, not to solve the problem.

And therein lies the problem behind it all. They think it’s more economical to get rid of the problem with low cost labor, than to try and solve the problem. They assume that they will exhaust the customers which will either give up and live with the problem, or will find a way to solve it themselves.

They are missing a major crucial issues.

Frustration and customer loyalty.

With government services, like the IRS or DMV, customer loyalty is not an issue, but with commercial companies, these two issues are a huge issues. If an alternative exists to get a better service, even if the cost is (reasonably) higher, most people will eventually choose the better service. In the long run it will cost them less, not just in money but also in time, and frustration. People choose Chewy, or McMaster because they get things fast, if something is wrong they can contact them and get fast and good answers, and they do not try to get rid of you. And what an agent tells you will happen, is actually what does happen!!! Amazing.

What is funny to me that we now are happy not with people and companies doing exceptionally good job, but from them just doing their job – we tend to forget that “the customer is always right) used to be the norm, now we’re so used to such a low level of everything, that when we see something reasonably good we are amazed.

I can go on for a few pages, but I have work to do… Hey, Dubner, I’ll write to you.

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