The Worst Customer Service

Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Every year, the Tempkin Group rates the best and worst in customer service. 2014’s ‘worst of’ results mirrored the previous years, with several industries consistently scoring at the bottom of customer service experience. Who are they?

  • Healthcare providers
  • Banks
  • TV & internet providers

As a Company committed to bettering the customer service function (and the quality assurance tools used to measure and improve it), these results are quite interesting to us…and a bit frustrating (since there are some great companies out there providing excellent customer service in each of those fields).

These three industries weren’t new to the list in 2014 by any stretch, and that should be rightfully alarming. Obviously there’s plenty of room for improvement – and by-and-large the firms in these industries know it.

With healthcare these days, there may be many factors at play to account for the poor ranking. It’s a hot-button topic. It’s tinged by politics. It’s rife with bureaucracy. Consumers usually have to deal with it when they’re feeling their worst. And the system and its individual plan rules are barely comprehensible to even the smartest layperson among us. That being said, call center customer service is call center customer service. The broad strategies for improvement remain similar.

And improvements have certainly occurred, as the customer service industry has expanded and evolved. In terms of metrics alone, the wealth of data available to supervisors and management has grown exponentially. It’s certainly a major shift, but it has led in many cases to information overload. In many ways, choosing the appropriate performance metrics has become an art unto itself.

A discussion of the Tempkin data in Forbes last year referenced the cable industry specifically, noting that efforts were being made to improve the customer experience and that it is increasingly a focus for the industry.

This all comes back to something I mentioned in an earlier post on Coaching the Coach: customer service (and the quality assurance function that oversees it, in particular) are directly relatable to a company’s bottom line, and it shouldn’t be treated as a burdensome expense. Improving customer service translates to an improved bottom line.

As an added bonus, you get to avoid negative-mentions in the media. These days, that might be worth its weight in gold.