Stop Blaming the Pandemic
The pandemic has undoubtedly disrupted how businesses operate, and that certainly requires some grace from customers.
But plenty of the issues we face as customers today are not because of the pandemic. A few may be exacerbated by it, but most are due to poor decisions, leadership weakness, and short-sighted management. Here are some challenges I’ve seen leaders blame on the pandemic, many of which existed long before COVID.
- Long (more than 20-30 minutes) sometimes absurdly long (over an hour) hold times
- Customer support that doesn’t provide competent service because of poor training and lack of knowledge
- Dropped calls with no call back
- Inadequate systems that are too slow, or have frequent problems
- Blind transfers to the wrong department requiring customers to explain their issue multiple times before reaching someone who might be able to help
- Automated assistants that only respond to pre-programmed options (and don’t cover a full range of issues that customers call about)
- Automated phone trees that are endless loops with little hope of reaching a person who is responsible for helping
- The ability to process payments coming in quickly, but somehow slow in distributing reimbursements
Too many leaders are aware of customer’s dissatisfaction but don’t prioritize them. I’ve often heard “that’s just the way it is in our industry.” Or “that’s just to be expected with this kind of business.” It is until it isn’t. And when the market makes up its mind that it won’t tolerate your deficiencies because another better option exists, it happens fast. At that point, it’s too late to act.
Stop blaming the pandemic and take responsibility for what you can control. We can’t predict external factors, but leaders have great authority to create strong and responsive organizations.
I originally wrote this article in early December after being furious with a few businesses. But clearly I’m not the only one who is thinking this