Today I shake my finger at FedEx, because they should know better. Earlier this week, I was sending a laptop in for service and I needed to schedule a pick up. Everything was going great until I needed to change some information on the delivery bill. It turns out that I couldn’t make the changes on the website, so I called their customer service line. Well customer service was far from what I experienced, but the experience provides a wealth of information for small businesses.
Do not empower your agents to say ‘There is no supervisor working here’.
I had already been charged for my delivery and didn’t want to pay the fee again, so I asked to speak to a supervisor. The customer representative insisted that she could help me, even though she couldn’t refund my charge. When I asked to speak to a supervisor, she told me that there was no supervisor working there. A lot of things in business are believable, but no supervisor is not one of them. At best it looks like you have no control of your staff, at worst it looks like you don’t care about your customers.
Provide clear directions on when to escalate a call
I applaud and stand behind empowering employees to give an instant solution to a customer issue, it fosters trust and conveys to the customer that the company is trying to work with them. What I don’t understand is why on earth a company would empower a representative to say, there’s nothing that I can do to help you. Is that really a response you want to give to customers? There is really no way to resolve the situation?
Try to understand the customer’s situation
Customer service is a trying field and good representatives have my eternal respect. Everyone, not just customer service agents has problem customers. The easiest way to help the customer is to find out what the problem is. I repeatedly told the representative that I had been charged and did not want to pay twice for the same service. I don’t feel that this is a complicated request, but it was ignored and I was told there was no other way to solve the problem. Call me crazy, but I don’t think a good solution will be found in charging a customer twice.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
I finally hung up after being placed on hold for two minutes and called the main customer service line, where I was transferred to a representative from the ‘management assistance team’. What Amy told me shocked me. I was told that not all agents knew where to transfer calls and not all agents knew who had the ability to refund purchases. How can you empower your staff without increasing their knowledge? How can you expect them to solve customer problems without the appropriate tools? You cannot empower without information. Give your staff the tools they need to solve customer issues effectively.