Business Practices | | Published October 05, 2012

Get The Customer Service Story Straight!

I’ve been dealing with a government agency recently (don’t want to name names, so let's just say it rhymes with “department of schmeducation”) and have come away absolutely amazed at how atrocious their call center reps were. Every time I get off the phone with them I end up more confused than I was before. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the opposite of what they’re supposed to do, right?

The problem is every time I call I get a different story. I’ve literally called twice in one day with the same question and gotten two entirely unalike answers. Even worse, both of those reps thought they were providing me with the correct answer.

I’ve come to realize the real problem (aside from the rudeness, which is an entirely other issue upon itself) is that nobody was trained the same way and that their service desk software didn't provide any way for their team to collaborate. That’s the only explanation why multiple people can be providing different answers for the same question and at the same time be totally confident they’re helping. Well before they answered their first phone call, someone trained them and hopefully handed them a manual or at least a cheat sheet of FAQ’s and their answers. At some point perhaps procedures changed or it could be that they were fed misinformation… then lucky me called.

Do Your Work Ahead of Time

My ordeal highlights the importance of having a solid training program in place. There is absolutely no way the training program they have where I’ve been calling is adequate to cover the amount of information their service teams need to be able to convey. My guess is that it would involve at least a few more days of dedicated training just to cover the basics.

If your employees were telling your customers a different story every time they called for a specific issue, you would naturally be upset. This is especially true if the information they’re providing ends up false and causing you to lose customers. Not to mention, in this day and age of social media, any incorrect information can end up in (electronic) writing… following your company around forever! Much of this worry can be eliminated if you take the time to properly train your employees.

If it’s been a while since you checked up on your training program, go back over it, review, revise, or maybe even start all over from scratch. Consider the approach as well; it could be what’s holding you back. For instance, maybe you’ve been teaching new hires to concentrate on fixing issues when they should be learning to listen to customer problems a little more closely.


 The world’s changing just as quickly as humans can make it. Naturally, your business should change with it. If not, then you run the risk of becoming outdated or going under completely.

The same should go for your customer service. If it doesn’t change with the business then somebody will get left behind; often, it’s the customers who suffer. They’ll quickly be able to tell when your customer service has languished behind as the rest of the company moved forward.

What if you never updated and insisted your reps to act like email doesn’t exist? Eventually one of your reps will tell customers the truth – you do have email addresses, but nobody will acknowledge it. Your customers will be confused and wonder why nobody can get their story straight.

So make sure everything is in order before the first customer calls. It saves you headache, it keeps customers from getting frustrated, and it can even lead to better sales. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to call the “department of schmeducation” back to see what answer I’ll get this time… doesn't rhyme with "schmeducation" but does provide best of breed collaborative customer support solutions for companies of all sizes. Click here to learn more about our SaaS based helpdesk solution.