TelstraClear needs to learn how to love their customers

After reading on the Herald's website today an article about Telco TelstraClear "Internet firm: Why the wait is so long" I am compelled to write a blog post.

It baffles me in todays world how a company as large as TelstraClear seems to be getting it so wrong when it comes to customer service. 

The Weekend Herald revealed last week that out of 10 internet service providers, TelstraClear customers were left waiting the longest to get human support when phoning for help.

TelstraClear call centre staff are given time off at work to play rock, paper, scissors and make paper aeroplanes.

Seriously? Then the TelstraClear Spokesman goes on to say

Activities of this nature are used to embed knowledge, raise awareness of new initiatives, processes and products. 

Really? How does Rock Paper Scissors embed knowledge about call center processes? Can someone enlighten me?

A TelstraClear call center worker then says,

"It can be quite a stressful job. Some customers are incredibly angry and they're not nice people to deal with.

Well that shows TelstraClear staff are embroiled in a culture of empathy and compassion doesn't it....NOT. Immediately I feel a "Them vs Us" battle going on within the call center 

If customers are calling up that angry and fed up their must be some fundamental flaws in the customer experience. It's obviously not easy to do business with TelstraClear

Next, this strikes me as arrogance and a lack of initiative

 

An anonymous email from a TelstraClear call centre worker said customers could help themselves by not calling with problems that could be solved by turning their modem off and on again - advice they were given by voice message during lengthy waits.

"Yes, our wait times are bad, but if our customers would simply think, then it wouldn't be so bad."

 

 

Staff are not taking ownership of the issues, giving management suggestions for improvement to help them deliver a better experience. Staff are being rewarded to churning through calls, not process improvement, they are not caring about the customer AT ALL.  And how do customers know when their problem could be resolved by those steps without advice??

 

Finally this:

They were paid from about $20 an hour, with bonuses depending on how many calls they answered, how long it took to solve a customer's problem and how the call was handled.

Customer service is about people, problems and solving them. Creating personal performance outcomes that are stats based is flawed from the start. Bonuses structured around the number of calls answered  and the length of time it takes to resolve a matter is NOT going to ensure a high quality level of service. The agents will be pushing the customer, impatient, and easily frustrated with slow or less technically minded customers.

Surely when you are dealing in a customer service environment an outcome based bonus scheme is far far more productive and effective to nurturing the right culture. You pay staff based on how satisfied the customer was with your solution. The staff will naturally get faster and fast at solving calls to the customers expectations and in the right manner, showing compassion and caring.

 

Customers are your business, if TelstraClear or any other business is not showing their customers some LOVE, don't be surprised when they call up angry and emotional. After all you're the only people to blame for not making it easier for them to have a relationship with you.

More than anything I'm just disappointed companies continue to foster customer care cultures that are not conducive to customer care. The only desirable outcome of customer care should be happy customers, who cares about stats.