Friday, August 8, 2014

Comcast isn't the only one

As I've mentioned before I have several posts in my draft folder on this blog.  Often I will flesh out an idea and either post it in raw form here or if I think I can leverage it into pagehits something more in-depth I will go ahead and post it at ChicagoNow.  I did so with a post about Respecting the Run, you should click and check it out.

If you've been paying attention to the news you might have heard that Comcast pissed off a particular customer last month and he had some fun posting the audio of the support call.  Amidst all the related posts was a piece that talked to former and current Comcast customer service reps.

we need customer service training as much as technical training
"first call resolution" which translates to: "Make sure the customer doesn’t have to call again to fix the problem." In practice, it was difficult to achieve. I believe we didn’t have enough tools to guarantee first call resolution. There was almost no offline time to work. So you didn’t have time to do follow-up checks on their services, or whether the technician arrived at the scheduled appointment, etc.  Source.

Comcast isn't the only one.  When I worked at the No-Name Software Company we were encouraged to fix the problem on the first call or at least keep the escalations down and the time to resolve as low as possible.  It was hard to document the call and work on the issue because because the calls kept coming and the number of call takers was hopelessly, hilariously inadequate.  We also had practically no offline time to work on the issue and at our pay level, no one was going to spend significant amount of time after hours to continue researching and troubleshooting.  Even if you wanted to, you were spent by the end of the day and many had families to get home to (also our remote dial-in capabilities weren't as robust as they are today -- it wasn't as easy for everyone to remote in at night to work on a few emails as it would be today.)

On paper we had the headcount, of course.  But when you eliminate the Director Palpatine's hand-picked band of merry asskissers who somehow got to work on issues that got them off the phone, we were really almost always running at 50% capacity.  And finally, there wasn't much done to manage the expectation of customers.  They could walk all over us and treat us poorly and there wasn't much we could do about it.  

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