What I want to do here, more often than not, is show how ALL marketing is eventually supported, fed or influenced by the online space.
My first case in point. I am really old school in that I still have landline phone service for my home. There are many reasons that we don’t need to explore. Well, my local phone provider, CenturyLink, is probably losing customers left and right to the ‘cell phone only movement’ so we received an offer in the mail that we thought was pretty good. In fact, in bold letters the offer said
To say thank you for being one of our best customers, we’re giving you a great deal.
Well, how thoughtful of you to try to save the business that is probably bleeding out profusely.
Well, here’s the trouble. CenturyLink apparently didn’t tell their employees at the phone number given about this offer. I will make a long story short. After four different ‘sales reps’, 1 hour of time (of which about 20 minutes was on hold) and many different iterations of this ‘deal’ (including one person who said it was for new customers only DESPITE the above mentioned copy in the letter) we finally got waht the company supposedly was offering to us. Of course, since it’s a communications deal you have to wait for your ‘final’ price because of taxes and surcharges (welcome to America) then we finally hung up with our deal.
Here’s why CenturyLink gets a D minus. They didn’t get an F because at least we finally got the right deal that THEY offered. They get this horrible grade because their processes are completely broken. No one fielding calls was on the same page. In fact, you have to wonder just how pathetic a company is on the whole when they send out offers and don’t tell anyone at their call center that it exists THEN they act like you are crazy because they think the offer never existed! Sounds stupid doesn’t it? Well, welcome to the world of CenturyLink.
Oftentimes bad customer service is just a result of poor or non-existent processes. Pity the phone reps who have to fight the uphill battle of trying to figure out truth or fiction from the customer AND their employer. Because no one had the same information or didn’t seem to want to get to the bottom of this (until Angela who was our final contact) CenturyLink now earned themselves this online review that might rank for their company name and make people think twice about dealing with them. Nice work.
So CenturyLink, you have a lot of work to do. If you would like to hire someone who knows just how bad you are and has ideas on how to fix it give me a call. I will get you the right answer the first time.
Oh and a note to those in customer service. Putting someone on hold for extended periods in hopes they will hang up is really bad policy. This technique didn’t work for CenturyLink and has caused a rift between a customer (me) and Sears which will be the focus of my next post.
Ever gone through this yourself? Let’s hear it.