Consumer’s Questions Have Become More Complicated – How Will You Prepare Your Representatives?


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Over the last week, I needed to call Verizon and Intuit for help. Why? Because I knew my issues were complicated and unique to my personal situation, so searching the web for community blogs or self-service options would be a waste of my time.

For Verizon, we recently installed FIOS in our home for phone, Internet and TV, and although I was able to receive business emails, I kept getting a message that my outgoing server was not recognizable. For Intuit, I needed help with a new QuickBooks installation on my new Macbook Pro. Even though, I had successfully downloaded and installed QuickBooks, when I ran my first financial statements, the revenues were correct, but the expenses were totally inaccurate. If you are running a business, this type of occurrence can make managing your P&L a disaster.

In both cases, my expectations were that I would be on hold a long time, but that didn’t matter to me. I needed to get these two significant issues resolved. I chose to call when I had a totally free 2-hour timeframe. To my surprise, the wait time for Verizon and Intuit was less than 2 minutes. I was impressed! After explaining my issues to both companies, the representatives confirmed my problems were a bit challenging and suggested that I give them permission to “show my screen”.

Each of the two calls lasted over an hour. Both representatives were extremely patient and understanding, with the one from Verizon telling me, “You are the most important customer I need to deal with today, and if your problem takes all day to fix, don’t worry, I will get it resolved”. My problem was resolved, and it was to my satisfaction.

The representative at Intuit determined that my data file was corrupt and needed to be sent to the Data Integrity Department to be fixed and that it could take up to 48 hours to be resolved. I subsequently received an automated call back that the problem would actually take 96 hours to be fixed. I’m hoping that the timeframe they gave me is accurate.

In speaking to numerous Contact Center executives over the past year, the majority have communicated to me that their call volumes have decreased over the last several years, but the complexity of customer issues has dramatically increased. This necessitates that representatives are patient, understanding and are good listeners. It also requires more effective knowledgebase systems and quality monitoring processes that judge the quality of the call and not the call time.

From my experience, Verizon and Intuit should be commended. Based on my perspective, they understand that callers have complicated issues and make sure the representatives have the tools in place to listen and resolve problems.

For many industries, when the phone rings, the issue that the customer has will be the one that impacts whether their relationship with the brand is renewed or diminished. When customers get their intricate problems resolved, they remember. They will take the time to post positive comments on social media sites and become your most loyal brand advocates.

The era of “simple” calls that have “simple” answers is gone. How will you prepare your representatives?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Richard Shapiro
Richard R. Shapiro is Founder and President of The Center For Client Retention (TCFCR) and a leading authority in the area of customer satisfaction and loyalty. For 28 years, Richard has spearheaded the research conducted with thousands of customers from Fortune 100 and 500 companies compiling the ingredients of customer loyalty and what drives repeat business. His first book was The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business and The Endangered Customer: 8 Steps to Guarantee Repeat Business was released February, 2016.


  1. I’ve been hearing this same theme over and over now — when your customer increasingly has self-service options, the times when they actually contact your representatives directly become much more important. Your post gives two excellent examples, and I’m sure your perceptions would be much different if the rep simply tried to hustle you off the phone or couldn’t provide a solution.

  2. Jeff,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on my blog. I know you are a well-known expert in your field so I especially appreciate it. Yes, you are 100 percent correct, my loyalty to both Fios and Intuit would have been negatively impacted. And, I really did appreciate both of the representatives patience for my issue. Have a wonderful new year!! Rich


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