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Do You Empower Customer Service?

I’d like to share a little story about why it’s important to empower customer service to solve customers’ problems promptly.

I needed to order coffee pods for my Tassimo coffee maker recently, so I clicked on an email with a promotion. I added sales items to my cart, then tried to add items from other pages. But the two weren’t connected. So I couldn’t have a single purchase for both sales items and regular items.

Fail #1: Technology didn’t make my user experience easy.

I prevailed through this issue and went on to place my order. A day later, I received an email saying that one or more items from my order weren’t in stock. Only customer service didn’t have visibility into what items they were. Upon logging into my account, I couldn’t even see my order.


Fail #2: Customer service should have been able to see my order and make changes.

I canceled my order and repeated the process a few days later. With different items. Frustrated, I sent customer service (who did not care) a nastygram saying I was getting rid of my Tassimo due to horrible customer experience.

Fail #3: Where was the apology and offer to help?

I’m now the proud owner of a Nespresso machine and let me say, the experience could not be more different. I’ve read great reviews about the service, and the one email I’ve sent was replied to within hours. And the coffee? Mmm. That’s for another tale.

I illustrate this story to make you aware that even large companies have great disconnect in their customer service and user experience. My shopping trip should have taken five minutes and been done with. Instead, it took about an hour all in.

And customer service threw its hands up, declaring it couldn’t help. Do you want that to be your company?

Or would you rather enable them to check on the order and make suggestions for other items I could buy?

I’ve always been a fan of how Disney empowers customer service employees to solve guests’ problems. No one refers guests to their managers or says I can’t help. They do whatever it takes to make the guest happy (sometimes it’s as simple as buying them ice cream).

Why can’t you do the same? Give your customer service department the ability to solve problems, and you’ll have a lot fewer of them.

Photo: Flickr user Evil Erin. Creative Commons 2.0.

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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