Nexus One – not for the man in the street – Part 3

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Looks like we now know the reason why I (and I’m sure many other people in the UK) can’t buy a ‘phone from Google – their Google Checkout has crashed over the past few days.

If I were a merchant using Google Checkout I would not be a happy bunny.

Will Google steal the crown from infamous leaders Tiscali, Egg et all for the worst customer service?


CRM – Messaging versus reality

Thursday, 2 April 2009

I am increasingly drawn to the contrast between the messages I receive in the CRM press and blogosphere (“Achieve Dramatic Customer Satisfaction!”, “10 Tips for happy customers!”, “Social CRM 2.0 is here!” et al) and the day to day reality of being a consumer and dealing with large companies. I don’t think blogs are really the place for slagging off bad service, I think sites like ciao do that pretty well, so I won’t bore you with the tedious stories of trying to get anybody with half a brain in Egg (a credit card company) or Tiscali (an Internet service provider) to actually read and reply to an email rather than just send back a cut and pasted reply that completely ignores the real question that I’m asking. So, having vented my fury in customer review sites I then think, well, what large companies can I actually recommend that has great (good, even) customer service, to show balance? And the answer is – I can’t think of any at all. We probably know the reasons for this. The products they offer are commodities, the suppliers have cut their costs by so much that there are very few humans left working for them, and they have come to the conclusion that it is cheaper to suffer customer attrition than pay for good customer service. Certainly you can see this in the banks, the job title “bank manager” just doesn’t exist, and they are all just as bad as the other, both retail and commercial.

Yet every time I talk to a small company I great customer service.

I’ve used the last week to try and find out how the two companies above actually run their CRM systems. What became apparent very quickly is that, for all the CRM industry’s mantra of “360 degree view of the customer”, these companies have different people in different silos that aren’t being asked to have an informed dialogue with the customer, the call centre operators just have a list of people to call and a question to ask them. Sometimes they can access the details of previous telephone calls and emails, but only when you ask them to, after they sign in to a different screen. These details are not being brought up on the call centre screen as the predictive dialler allocates the call through to them, the operators are just told who is on the line and what they have to say. Battery chickens are better informed.

So while the CRM industry is blathering on about how wonderful our products are and how they make customers happy, the reality is that in the call centres of large companies none of this is being implemented, despite being around for ten years or more. Presumably because all that 360 degree stuff would take far too long for a humble operator to read and digest.

Maybe all those Enterprise CRM vendors should change their messaging to “Implement ten year old technology today!”, or “Deliver only the minimum amount of data to your operators!”.