Image credit: Sparkler by Matt Palmer on Unsplash
Yeah, irony on. This guide should be read with a wink. Nevertheless, as in every joke, there is at least a grain of truth between the lines.
So there you are. You and your company. It’s going well, you like your product and especially the beautiful, new advertising. Finally, everyone can see where it’s at! If only there wasn’t this one annoying thing: customers. They constantly come up with questions, have complaints, give suggestions that nobody did ask for. Isn’t it as clear as day how everything works? Can’t they be happy to become a customer at all? How dare they place feature requests and ideas for an “even better product”?
Actually, everything would be simple if there were no customers. Well, they probably bring the money – but, apart from that, only problems. Fear no more! With the following easy tricks, you can turn your customers into enemies, who are worthy of being despised. You don’t have to take this challenge on your own. The busy bees from the customer service team will guide you along the way. Let’s go!
Information is for wimps
Your product is self-explanatory. So why would anybody come up with the idea of FAQ and documentation for support? It’s bad enough that, despite the obvious superiority of your offer, these petty requests for price information or lost passwords come up all the time. Fortunately, your employees don’t think much of the rigid information corset either. A little thrill is what it takes! Just let them guess whether the customer’s delivery has already been shipped or is still in your warehouse. Sooner or later he’ll learn it anyway.. Guarantees? Terms and conditions? These are humble recommendations, nothing else.
And don’t let the nagger from customer service unsettle you. Yes, he tells you that he can’t give reliable service without clear information and therefore always feels stressed out by customers. That’s all esoteric nonsense. They need to grow some, really.
Processes – who even came up with that word?
You’re the creator of your own world. Besides, we’re agile, please. Processes are for people who need rules to follow. We’re free minds (except for when in front of the coffee machine). Don’t you dare to tell us that we’re bureaucrats.
Wait – the customer hasn’t received an invoice yet? Well, what’s the deal, it’ll arrive later then, I guess. The customer service nagger is again yelling that he doesn’t know how to process and confirm a change to the customer details? Really annoying. The one that had his job earlier was way nicer. He simply didn’t do the update at all. Fortunately, nobody noticed, because nobody knew exactly what his job was anyway.
Every now and then someone tries to bore you to death with legal requirements, organization charts, and schedules. Which, in itself, is already an attack on your authority. Deep inside you know what time it is – always. If the noobs around you need to know as well, why don’t they just ask? So far, we weren’t in need of processes and rules. And if we ever need them, we’ll make them agile. Way easier to bend!
Training on the job, hop hop!
No matter what you do, customers still won’t stop contacting you. They send letters, try to give a call, write mails, in the worst case they are at your door.
You need an army!
Supporters are cheap and easy to find. You don’t necessarily want to call them cannon fodder, but they still form a nice protective wall between you, your ingenious product and the wild customer mob out there. If the mob becomes too powerful or the nagger from customer support is telling you again that his team has too much on their plates, all you need is fresh meat. There, there, two out of the box colleagues for you!
Well, they haven’t worked in this area before, but luckily your product is self-explanatory. All you need to do is show them where to click in your fancy support software. An easy task that the nagger can do on top of his daily business. Wait – he’s complaining again, says that it’s impossible. Unbelievable. And here you are, the one who taught themselves everything from scratch. He talks about service quality, tone of voice and training documents. Isn’t it called doc-YOU-ment, rather than doc-I-ment?! Haha!
Don’t let him drag you down. Only the good ones survive and if they don’t – they can be replaced. Maybe the next ones will learn just a bit quicker.
Workload – it’s in the name and it’s not called Workdone
The nagger again. He screams that the team is burnt out. Bogus. The customers just ask too many questions! Luckily, your product is self-explanatory, the team just has to work a bit faster. What do they do all day long anyway?
Maybe they’ll get a little happier if you give them proper tasks instead of those dull customer requests? How about bookkeeping? Data protection? Do you really need a lawyer for legal questions? You have a customer lawyer for customer questions! Also: win-win because the supporters will stop hanging out in front of the coffee machine in the morning.
The nagger screams in his closet that the service quality is dropping again because the company treats customers like cases that have to be processed as quickly as possible. Well, wasn’t it high time for him to finally learn. What does he actually think his job is, if not this one?
Quality is not where it’s at
One wonders. Today, it was not only the nagger in the office but also the developer. They say customers are dissatisfied with the ordering process because sometimes, orders are simply lost. Don’t you see? There are enough customers! If you don’t get where to click on your order of a self-explanatory product, you might not be good enough for this company.
The nagger says that, with a small change in the process, a lot of customer questions could be answered up front. Sure thing, to give them time to think about even more questions! Actually, that guy should take care of increasing the Customer Satisfaction Index. The other day, someone said that satisfied customers are less likely to contact us than dissatisfied customers. Just put a survey on your website, and you have a fantastic CSAT. That’s what all agile companies do, they hip ones even several times.
It’s oddly quiet today. Nobody is hanging out in front of the coffee machine. Your inbox is almost empty, just a small message that the license for your support system has expired. A lonely post-it from the last agile retro standup is on your desk. It says “service quality”. Again. You throw it in the trash.
Where are the busy bees from CS (customer service, for all who want to take their time)? Oh yes, they are gone. Some threw in the sponge because customers kept complaining about not getting reliable information and nobody did anything about it. Others were tired of arbitrary changes in instructions and responsibilities – in a running system. You fired one of them as, after three weeks without any training, he still didn’t know how to handle warranty cases. His buddy from the office left shortly afterward because he finally wanted to stop working additional hours. The nagger yelled at you that your self-explanatory product should at least take the customers’ wishes into account a tiny, tiny bit.
Fortunately, it’s all not that bad. Because with the customer service, the customers said goodbye as well. Many were dissatisfied by the quality of service. The hopeless cases chose one of the competitors. But they don’t even have such a nice, new advertisement as you do. Doesn’t matter, finally time to take a deep breath again!
Just a quick question: Who is going to pay your bills in the following months?