I had dinner with a friend recently. It had been some time since we got together — so he shared a recent tale of poor customer service. It seems I attract these type of stories 🙂

I don’t recall all the specifics of the situation or the company involved, but he had called the call centre to complain about the lack of functionality on their company website. Apparently, he had tried to sign-up for some feature and he had been “kicked out” twice — so in frustration he call the customer service hot-line.

The CSR informed my friend that the functionality that he was trying to access was “down” . They also indicated that it had been down for a number of days and they had no information on when it would be up.

When my friend asked why they had not posted that on the website to save him the time and aggravation of filling in the form twice — the answer was “well that’s not our department, I just tell you what I am told to say.”

My Perspective: It should come as no surprise that I would be frustrated by the lack of concern about the customer by the company for not highlighting their technology issue. But I was more surprised that the CSR would offer such an “I don’t care” attitude.

Regardless of whether we are let down by another area of our organization (which unfortunately does happen) it is never a good idea to shift the blame. Apologizing on behalf of the organization for inconveniencing the customer is not the same as accepting blame.

Our job is to act on behalf of the organization with the goal of dealing with the customer issue — not identifying who to point the finger at. Later, we can look into a long term solution, which may identify that another department needs to make an adjustment.

Surely a simple answer that my friend had made an excellent suggestion and they would pass it on to appropriate department would have been better than the “not my fault, I don’t care” answer they got.

On the positive side, at least the company had let the call centre know there was a problem rather than leaving them out on a limb — but that was cold comfort to my friend.

A customer-focused organization looks first at the customers needs and then takes action to fix the issue for future customers. It never seeks to place blame — either with the customer or another area in the organization. That type of negative thinking never encourages a positive customer-focused work environment.