Saturday, February 4, 2012

Customer Service! How to get a better job?

Who do you call when you are looking for your book order, need assistance with programming your on stream feature on your new flat screen , want to sign up for utility, get a refill on your prescription, set up an appointment to take your car in,  need to complain about your Netflix experience, need to speak with your doctor, plan your destination wedding?

You call customer service.  If you can understand them you have a pretty good chance of having a decent experience.  It is common knowledge that outsourcing to India has been a real bonanza for American companies.  I don't have a problem with the workers because I understand that most of these workers can speak English and more than one or two languages, matter of fact besides speaking their own official language Hindi, they may speak five or more recognized dialects.  There are over 28 regional dialects in India. It is rather lame for an American customer to get pissed off because the rep does not speak American.

What really gets me are the local customer service department who do not train their employees, who give them no empowerment and hire them to answer the phone and just follow company policies.  That really is a bad business model which makes customer service jobs the least desirable place to work for college graduate unless it is seen as apprenticeship to learn about the business, the service or product that is being offered.   If you stay in customer service at the same job for more than five years and are happy, I bet you are very good at your job, make decent money and feel value by your company.  They keep you in the loop, you talk to your outside sales people regularly and you are invited to participate when managers have meetings to discuss sales, new markets , new products, price changes and new policies.  At these meetings your opinion is not only requested but is appreciated since you are the voice of the customer.  I know that sounds a bit Nirvanian but in a smart business model that is where the magic starts. 

On the other hand if you hate your job but like a long relationship feel that you have invested so much of your time in it that you can't break it off maybe you can make it better.

I have made job changes because I wanted a better work environment.  However I have also made changes because I had no choice and was laid off.  In one case I took a job offer because it was offered to me when my roommate had applied for a job and the HR department heard my bilingual voice mail on the answering machine. when  calling back to set up an appointment with him.   I have accepted to move where no one would choose to go when I was 50 years old and a decade later accepted a new job in the great city of Chicago for more money and a moving assistance package. 

So can I give you advice and help you get a better job?   I think I can If you can be honest with yourself, decide what you want and go for it..  More to come.  I am looking for questions or testimonials, who has a great customer service story to share or not so great.