My Business Tips by Tim Shaw July 2008

User friendly customer service is essential

I cannot believe what I am going to tell you about a recent customer service experience on the telephone. I rang a telecommunications company to query my bill for a particular service I buy from them. I spent one hour and eight minutes on and off hold trying to get the answers I desired. Sixty eight minutes! I was transferred overseas to the Philippines twice. Incorrectly transferred back to Australian technical services instead of billing enquiries twice. When I finally got through the third time to a lovely bloke in tech services again in Australia, I simply told him my name and phone number and urged him to get someone from the CEO’s office or the Australian corporate affairs department to call me so I could complain and tell them of my horror of spending 68 minutes on hold and talking to the wrong departments in their company.

I knew I was waiting 68 minutes because I had been engaged in a Skype instant messaging conversation with colleagues in New York and I could track my log on time for that conversation and the customer service call because at 11.52am I wrote to them that I was on hold to a Telco and at 1pm finished the Skype instant message meeting with colleagues and finished the call with the last of Telco blokes as well.

Within an hour I had a call from a terrific senior bloke who apologized profusely for my experience and asked me to email my bill for assessment directly to him. He said he would definitely be back to me within 72 hours with responses to my queries. I am still waiting over a week later as I write this story.

I rang another Telco on the same day about another matter which involved disconnecting a landline and transferring a number from another location to my new location within the same caller code area. The whole call took 8 minutes or less. The operator asked when I would like this work completed. I said in the next 72 or so hours thinking that’s how long it would take. The work was completed electronically within the hour on the same day. Unbelievably good, professional customer service.

Anyone running a business knows that unless you make yourself fully available to your customers, irrespective of your pricing structure or product offer, you must offer proper and professional customer care contact if you want to keep your customers happy. Don’t over promise and under deliver, just ensure that you make yourself available. No one can properly calculate call centre load peaks on an hourly basis, but why not adopt an instant messaging style of customer query for customers to use instead of hanging on the phone, waiting, waiting and waiting.

So imagine if I could send a Skype style instant message to an online customer service (some companies like Telstra do this for new product sales) with my customer service or account query, at least the company knows who I am, I have a record of my contact with the company and the customer service team can get important details like account numbers and actual complaint info quickly and efficiently.

Happy Selling!

Tim Shaw can diagnose sales and marketing opportunities available for your business today. Tim is available as a keynote speaker for your next sales meeting or conference. Visit or contact Tim directly at

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