I Should Have Known Better Than To Do Business With A Company With The Word TELEGRAPH In Their Name


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If you have ever read my blogs or heard me speak, you pretty much already know that I repetitively talk about the competitive advantage of providing fast, friendly, hassle free service.

Unfortunately, many times organizations place too many silly policies, procedures or rules on their employees for the “customer’s protection” that pollute the experience.

Let me give you an example of how NOT to create an exceptional customer experience.

I have had the same home office line for about twenty years.

I wanted to transfer my home office line to my new residence and called American Telephone and Telegraph, otherwise known as AT&T to assist me with the process.

Upon calling AT&T, I received a transfer confirmation as well as a work order for the install.

The confirmation was sent to me electronically to confirm my install date and my telephone number.

The original call to schedule this transfer and the confirmation process was fast, friendly and seamless.

Now is where the experience got off the tracks.

It is one day before my scheduled install to transfer the number, and I learned that I must travel, therefore needing to reschedule the AT&T installation.

So, I call and get a friendly, helpful service provider after I learn to navigate their voicemail system and input my social security number, phone number and order confirmation number.

Of course, I have to repeat all the information I just provided to the friendly agent.

However, he then asked me for my secret three digit customer code found on my bill.

I said, “You’ve got to be kidding me! I just gave you my social security number, previous address, current address and order confirmation for the pending installation. I can’t give you any more confirmation that I am who I say I am. I told you just I moved. One of the priorities was not to put the AT&T bill at the top of my boxes. I am calling to change my appointment to be courteous to your installation provider.”

He replies, “Sir, the company policy states I cannot go in and alter your record unless I have your 3 digit customer code.”

I said, “That’s the silliest thing I have ever heard.”

He said, “Sir, this is for you protection.”

I replied, “I don’t need protection, I am just trying to prevent your installer from showing up at my residence when I am not home.”

He said, “I’m sorry. I would like to help you, but that’s our policy.”

I then asked him to hold please, while I opened up my iPad (accessed through Verizon) and found a copy of my AT&T bill online which revealed my secret three digit code.

It took me about 5 minutes to locate the bill through their unfriendly website, however he was still holding.

When I shared my secret code “683? with him, he was finally able to help me.

The total interaction was completely nonsensical.

I am sure as much as this agent would have really liked to help me, the last time he changed the record without that secret code, he got hammered by his supervisor for breaking company policy.

I truly believe I could have got the transaction done faster using a telegraph versus their horrible automated voicemail system and then trying to navigate their silly policies that are there for “my protection.”

So, here is an info graphic to remind you not to be slow and full of hassles for your customers like the company with the word telegraph in their name.

Click here to view the info graphic below:


Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peter Psichogios
Peter Psichogios is the President of CSI International Performance Group whose mission is to help companies create engaging employee and customer experiences. Prior to joining CSI International Peter served as an executive member of one of the largest Instructional System Association companies in the world. In this capacity, he led all the front-end analysis and worked directly with Dr. Ken Blanchard. Peter has been fortunate to work with the who's who of the Fortune 500, helping them deliver innovative learning, engagement and recognition solutions.


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