The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

How to De-Energize a Customer

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, March 06, 2017
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"IT” starts in Gary, Indiana at US Steel’s immense integrated mill (the largest of its kind in the Northern Hemisphere). “IT” continues in Orlando with the United States Postal Service and Hurricane Irene. And “IT doesn’t stop until long after I return home to Southern California and a 7.0 earthquake. The “IT” is a laptop malfunction—the unnatural calamity created when technology and a virus meet.

First, installing the software challenges a neophyte. What the heck is a “keyring”? Why are the gauges literally written in Greek? Forbid I should call the support line. The posted hours in the manual are from 9am to 6pm Pacific Standard Time. Does a TON of good when you’re perched in the Midwest!

Next, wait until the appointed hour and try placing a toll call from an airport location. Voice mail hell reigns supreme. A garbled voice mumbles some unintelligible phrase and directs me to call another number. Seems that what is printed in the “quick start guide” of this newest edition is wrong. Dial the new toll call number. A recorded voice directs me to redial the very number that had just proved wrong. At no time am I even given the option to speak to a REAL person.

At the next location I try again, dialing any number that is printed. One works—for a product OTHER than the one I purchased. I seem to be put into a line for service. Elevator-type music plays and at no time am I told what the wait will be or if—ever—I can be helped.

Finally, when I get home, I dial a 900-number to get help and jump all over the poor technician who answered. (To his credit, he agreed not to charge me for the call.)

Angry. You bet. So here are the lessons you can use if you wish to turn away customers:

1. Respond to calls only at your convenience. Forbid anyone from working hours that match the work hours of the majority of your clients.

2. Never read your marketing material for errors.

3. Make sure you never allow a customer to find a human for assistance.

4. Have a customer go through many steps in order to find you. Reward only the most persistent. Make sure you waste a TON of their time.

5. Never call back an angry customer and thank them for pointing out the errors in your system.

Here’s the deal. If you’re as big as this software company, hundreds of people must have been getting this lack of response. How long does it take them to fix it?

Please help my small company.  If our voice mail system goes down, please e-mail or text us so we can get it right. Text is 949-637-4233.  Let me publicly thank Esther Eagles from Eagles Talent Agency for getting mad enough to continually call my office. We wondered why our phones were so quiet that day.  Sure enough. There was a glitch.

Stuff happens.  But we want to make it right. ASAP. Naturally. And so do you.


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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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