How unempowered customer care departments erode brand value

Customer support is the face of any organization.

No, media adverts are not.
No, marketing department is not.
No, retail outlets are not.
People in the retail outlets are, and they are, in principle, a part of customer facing group.

Customer experience business units when not empowered to wow the customers, are helpless in the face of customer interactions/queries/issues. This erodes the brand value like nothing else. As always, no business unit wants to end up doing so. Even though the individuals stick to the script, the textbook, the processes, and the guidance from higher ups, erosion just happens. Almost as if by magic! At times, this is how we customers are left to feel, not wanting to give you our money anymore.

Leaving a person dangling in an obstacle course
Leaving a person dangling in an obstacle course

I shall even claim that in 80% of the cases,

fine print exists because the businesses want to safeguard themselves against whatever they cannot fix for good.

The good news is, simply start by fixing the following frequently heard of ways, some of which are (unintentionally) in vogue in your customer-facing teams.

  • Feedback: Sure I shall take your improvement for feedback and deposit it in the system for implemention AFTER we solve your problem using our traditional methods, against which your feedback is.
  • Protocols: But this is the only process!
  • Terms and conditions: You signed the form yourself. It clearly indicates these surcharges/conditions/noservice clause/etc.
  • Helpless: I realize it is my organizations mistake, but I am sorry, I cannot fix it.
  • Call volume: Due to xyz issue, our call center is flooded with calls right now. Please hold for a long time/call later/call another number/try self-help/etc.
  • Replacement: (Just because you raised a hue and cry on social media) We shall provide a discount/replacement/cash back/special call/vouchers/etc. just this once. Please be happy and don’t give us more bad air through your social channels.
  • Social Media: The organization is so afraid of and naive to anything (negative) on social media that if you raised a issue it has to be resolved. The organization shall divert more resources than requied to provide social support rather than other traditional support methods.
  • Talk offline: Please message your contact details, so we can take it offline. That way the organization does not have to publicly respond on a social media channel.
  • Changes in the deal: This deal and the contract can change any time without notice. The company is not liable to provide this offer once it expires. And customers don’t have a way of knowing when it expires!
  • Process changes: No, it does not work this way anymore. We have shifted to a better process without retaining the classic one for old timers like you. Please join us in following this exciting, super deluxe, certified, and acclaimed way of doing things now. By the way, we did not think your inputs before or your feedback afterwards was necessary. Forget about transition and hand-holding through the change.

Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons here.


Author: AshishG


2 thoughts on “How unempowered customer care departments erode brand value”

  1. So true! Yes, customer support is the face of a company and that is why CEOs of some big corporations do support form time to time. Like Jeff Bezos – CEO of Amazon – spends a couple of hours doing support every now and then


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