Improve customer service: Eliminate bureaucracy!

Improve Customer Service: Avoid Bureaucracy

Avoid Bureaucracy! Photo: ginasanders/ Resource: www.bigstock.com

I hate bureaucracy. I have great difficulty to remain cool when I am forced to deal with bureaucrats at public agencies or other organizations.

I fall into a sense of helplessness when I think about bureaucracies. That is probably also the reason why I get angry in these situations, allow the non-conformist in me to take over, and at times may appear unkind, aggressive and sarcastic.

I know what you are going to say: What is the point of doing this? This behavior is counter productive and I should be bigger than this as an adult. True – but I still have difficulty doing the right thing.

Poor customer service

The same thing happens to me when I, as a customer, am confronted with poor company service processes.

Two years ago, I changed my telephone/Internet service provider. After a few weeks my Internet connection suddenly stopped working. I could neither send nor receive e-mails, neither with my PC nor with my Smart Phone. For me, this was a good sized catastrophe.

Automatic hotline

So I called the hotline. An automated female voice greeted me with the following announcement:

Press ’1′ for questions about your contract. Press ’2′ if you are experiencing problems with your Internet connection. Press ’3′ for any other issues.”

I pressed ’2′. The pleasant robo-voice then asked me to be patient. All service agents are currently on other calls. But if I did not want to wait, I could send an e-mail describing the problem.

“Hello! My Internet is disabled. I am therefore unable to send e-mails. Are you kidding me?”

I was pretty worked up when I was finally connected to a service agent 15 minutes later. Sure, I should have taken the situation with a bit of humor – but I didn’t!

Is your company bureaucratic?

It is not enough to only be friendly with your customers. True customer orientation also means not irritating the customer with bureaucratic processes.

Take a detailed look at your company’s processes. Make an anonymous call to your switchboard, your hotline or your support department. Pretend to be a customer with a problem, and test how you are treated.

Primarily focus on reviewing the rules and processes your employees rely on to interact with the customer. As it relates to this, it is often true that well intentioned actions are not the same as well executed actions!

How do you deal with bureaucratic idiocy?
What are you doing to make sure that bureaucracy does not get a foothold in your company?

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  • Heather Stone

    Bernd,
    Thanks for sharing this post with the BizSugar community. I agree that a bureaucratic response to customers is never a good idea. Sometimes we set policies in an effort to anticipate the most likely customer issues that might arise. But employees should always feel empowered to go the extra mile when a customer problem simply doesn’t fit into our neat little grid. If your business is automated, fine. Just make sure customers having trouble with that automation have a way to contact a real human being for help when necessary.

    • Bernd Geropp

      Heather,
      Thanks for your good comment. I think especially as online entrepreneurs we need to regularly check that our automated systems are customer friendly. It is important that if there is a problem that human and not robot help is available.