When process goes wrong

I recently wrote about a great customer service experience. It isn’t always quite that good…

It seems every year I get to experience at least one  business process that goes horribly wrong.  Here’s the latest, with names removed to protect the guilty.

I purchased a new laptop back in June.  At the same time, I also purchased an extended warrantee and all you can eat personalized training for a year.  The salespeople I dealt with were knowledgeable, friendly, and responsive.  Better yet, I saved a good deal because my company has an employee deal with the vendor.  Overall, I felt great about my purchase.

Systems that don’t talk

Then things started going sideways.  I tried to activate my membership in the personalized training only to be told that I wasn’t in the system.  This led to a call with customer service where, after producing my order number, they agreed that I had indeed purchased and paid for the service.  One would think, “problem solved”.  After all, it should be relatively simple to turn it on, right?


Rinse and repeat

I was told I needed to go into the physical store to get things resolved.  I did, only to be told that I needed to call the 800 number again.  Rinse and repeat.

On my last interaction with the 800 number, they took my information and said that they’d get back to me in a couple of days.  A couple of days later, they did indeed call back, only to tell me that it was too difficult for their systems to talk to each other.  It would be faster for them to void my transaction and credit back my card, then to go into the physical store and repurchase what I’d bought in June.

Unbalanced Scorecard

Time to resolution: 2 months

Visits to store: 3

Calls to customer service: 4+ (I lost track)

Hours wasted: 4

Root Cause: silos and systems that don’t talk to each other

What’s your latest customer service nightmare and what do you think was the root cause?


Tags: ,

Categories: Process Management, Retail

Author:Tom Molyneux

A business process strategist with a focus on real-time event management.

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One Comment on “When process goes wrong”

  1. September 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Don’t get me started. In fact I write a monthly column called “Mr Angry – call that Customer Service. It has both good and bad customer experience stories. But at the heart of every story is a process that does, or doesn’t work END TO END. It has to work end to end to deliver great customer service.

    But (worst) experience was with Sky (TV & broadband). 12 weeks to install phone line and offered $30 compensation. Appalling, and a final slap in the face.

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