August 11, 2017

Does Customer Service Still Exist?


When was the last time you called a phone or cable company? Did you have a good experience?


Recently, I called a prospective vendor. This is a large company with an international presence so I almost fell over when an actual, real live human being answered the phone. She immediately routed me to someone who could answer my questions. The wait was little to non-existent and rather than being put through to someone’s voicemail, I was transferred to another real-live human being. And, the second person actually communicated with the first person prior to speaking with me. This means there was no need to repeat myself on why I was calling. The rep and I had a great conversation and she answered all my questions. After we hung up, she followed up with an email providing everything we discussed, how to get started and all of her contact info. Less than twenty-four hours later, we were in business.


It was that simple.


While I was excited to begin working with this vendor; part of me was almost bothered at how “amazing” I thought the experience was. There was no navigating through a tedious phone system gauntlet. No saying “service” to an automated voice who continuously replies, “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that,” over and over. No need to enter qualifying information, like an account number, before being deemed worthy to speak to a representative. And, most importantly, no wondering if the person on the other end understands the art of conversation since they can’t process any information beyond the transcript they’re reading from. “Name? Address? Blood type?”


Unless you’re in a certain tier, many businesses won’t even offer support. Even high rollers who can afford phone support seem to have to sell their first-born child these days. Whatever happened to having a relationship with the customer? While I understand there’s nearly 7.5 billion people in the world, only a fraction is your customer base. Yet customers are treated like they’re a dime a dozen. Can companies simply not handle the call volume? If a support department is overwhelmed by calls, that’s either an opportunity to create new jobs or it’s time to review the quality standards.


The black and white version of ISO 9001:2015 is that it’s a quality management system (QMS) comprised of a series of business processes and procedures that focus on superior customer requirements. The goal is to continuously improve customer satisfaction.


That being said, a QMS is more than just meeting quality standards. It’s about connecting and providing an optimal customer experience. Something that’s grossly lacking in our society today.


While technology has advanced our lives in many ways, it’s also set us back in others. Being grateful to speak to another human being shouldn’t be this…grateful. Even the most introverted, shy person requires human connection. This is exactly why ISO 9001 is all the more important today. How can you meet customer requirements if you don’t even bother to connect with the customers to understand their needs in the first place?


When you call EPE USA at 800-315-0336 during our business hours, you’ll be greeted by a receptionist. That’s right. A real live human being (who’s very warm and friendly by the way!). That’s because here at EPE we’re people who like to work with people.


After you sign on with us, a representative is assigned to your account. They will listen to your needs, manage your packaging process and deliver solutions that either meet or exceed your business requirements. We earned our certification because we dedicate ourselves to communication, lead-times and quality. And, we do this because we take your business personally.


Ten years ago, my experience with the vendor was just two competent employees doing their jobs. Now, it seems like something miraculous because, sadly, a simple phone call from one business to another isn’t so simple anymore.