While their cousins are seasonal, the Ghosts of Customer Service past, present and future are on the clock year round. And they recently visited the CEO of a large rental car business. This is their story.
Steve’s wife, Amie, is headed out on a road trip with her mom, their daughter and one of their daughter’s friends. It’s an annual event to strengthen the bond between mothers and daughters. This year Amie decided to rent a SUV to accommodate all of the stuff they have to bring.*
Worried about traffic, they decided to get an early start on their trip. Amie’s rental was scheduled for a 4PM pickup, but now she needs to pickup at 8AM. This is where our customer service misadventure begins.
The Ghost of Customer Service Past
In the past, you needed a professional to book travel. Travel agents would ensure all of the i’s were dotted, the t’s crossed and your trip went as smoothly as possible. They knew all of the discounts, gimmicks and tricks to get you the lowest price with the best service.
The Ghost of Customer Service Past shows our CEO how Amie handed her predicament.
To change her reservation time, Amie would have to wait until regular business hours. She then called the main number at the travel agency, asked to be connected to her agent, waited and then explained the situation to the agent. The agent logs into their terminal and after some travel agent magic (and about 15 minutes spent on-hold), Amie had a new reservation with different rental car company. She could pick up her rental at 8AM as she wished, and it only cost her a small fee to her travel agent.
Our helpless CEO looks at the Ghost of Customer Service Past and says “I know how this one ends! The travel agent is the problem! We just need to educate them on how to change a reservation with us and pay them a small fee, so they keep the business with our company!” But the CEO ignores the real issue, the process Amie had to go through to make this reservation and, more glaringly, the cost in time and money to make the change.
The Ghost of Customer Service Present
With the advent of e-commerce, everything you need is at your fingertips. Travel agencies are an endangered species. When you can visit a website, input your preferences, choose from inventory, and process payment. Why add the frustration of speaking to someone when you can just do it yourself.
But what happens when something goes wrong? What if you need to make a complicated change, and you are unsure of the process? Or what happens if you try to change your car reservation from 4PM to 8AM, and the website tells you it will result in an additional $250 charge?
Our CEO is now visited by the Ghost of Customer Service Present.
Sitting at her computer, Amie cancels her reservation after the system told her that modifications weren’t allowed. She then attempted to make a new reservation, but quit after learning of the cost increase. She then simply visits another vendor’s website and reserves a rental car with an 8AM pickup, all at her previous rate.
The CEO looks to the Ghost of Customer Service Present and begins making excuses. “This simply isn’t fair! If Amie waited until the next business day, she could have contacted us! If she simply called into our customer service hotline, waited 13 minutes for an agent, explained the entire situation from the beginning, we could have changed it for her! We can’t possibly fix something if we aren’t told about it!”
The CEO is forgetting a key fact. Amie DID tell them about the problem. She logged into the company website to access her reservation. The rental car business had the ability to see what was happening, but their systems were not in sync with their people.
The Ghost of Customer Service Future
When Amie realized her need to modify the reservation, she visited the website and logged in. She tried to modify her reservation but instead cancelled it when prompted erroneously. Then after trying to book her new reservation, she stopped after being told of the high fees.
The CEO thinks “If we were aware of this, we could have done something! Maybe we could have sent Amie a text message asking her if we could contact her. And I hate having to explain my problem a million times, so I understand why she wouldn’t want to call into customer service. I wish the website team could share with the customer service agent what happened, so Amie doesn’t have to explain from the beginning? Amie would never have gone to my competitor, and she would tell all of her friends about us!”
The CEO frustratingly looks at the Ghost of Customer Service Future, and says “While this type of pro-active customer service can reduce customer churn, increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction, it’s impossible. Our systems and people just don’t share this kind of information.”
Our CEO is wrong. The technology is available today. And improving your customer satisfaction through the use of context is a breeze.
The Future is Now
With Avaya Breeze and the Context Store snap in, you can deliver the future to your customers, today.
Don’t wait for the Ghosts to visit, contact your Avaya Business Partner today to learn how Avaya makes customer service a Breeze!
* Did I mention my daughter is twelve, going on Twenty-Two? The days of dolls and Disney toys have been replaced with makeup, more clothes and electronics. She still loves Disney though, so at least I have that to help me through these years.