Thursday, January 21, 2010

This is a seriously good podcast - Twisted Wire on customer service

Phil Dobbie, as a former telco marketing exec, knows what he is talking about in this podcast on telco customer service - or more technically when he asks "is telecommunications a shonky busines".

The podcast is really worth a listen - but Dobbie surmises that it comes down to five things; pricing, over-promising, spurious services, particularly intrusive marketing and poor processes.

The really bad news is that every telco will listen to this podcast and do a number of things;
1. They will blame customers for either having unrealistic expectations or not bothering to understand what they are buying (and not notice the inherent contradiction between these),
2. Make a new resolve to be "customer centric" or "straight up", brief the adverising agency and change nothing else.
3. Claim that it is really about every other telco but not them.
4. Take refuge in the fact customers keep buying stuff from them.

Nothing will change until senior management at telcos decide that enough is enough, and that it is time to improve the whole industry's reputation. Unfortunately I see little hope of that in the immediate term.

Despite the hopes of some in the consumer lobby it is impossible to regulate for good customer service.

Even the telco that is our biggest probably won't get it. They have recently announced that they have amajor project underway on improving their customer service. When I sent the CEO a note to explain how their processes designed to differentiate the customer service received by a retail and a wholesale customer had resulted in a crap service experience for a customer (my daughter) the CEO got the point and replied, but the officer to whom he referred the note to didn't and answered in relation to what was a minor part of the note.

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