Thursday, October 6, 2011

This Is How We Do It; or, Customer Service Done Right and Wrong

Right on the heels of my last bad customer service experience, I've got two more tales about how to do it right and wrong.

I've been locked out of my Sovereign and Fidelity accounts for a while (I tend to forget my passwords) and finally decided to call them up to restore access. 

I called Sovereign first. Calling the number in their "Your account has been locked out" message, I find that the number is their generic customer service number. Great, now I have to navigate the phone tree to find the "I'm an idiot and forgot my password" option. I finally get through to a rep. He asks me a few security questions in a near-monotone voice and unlocks my account. Without asking if I was able to log in correctly, he asks if I need any more help. I answer, "I'm all set," and he launches into an upsell attempt for either identity or overdraft protection. I cut him off once with "No thank you." but he keeps going. Realizing he is going to be graded on whether or not he makes this pitch, I wait until he's done, then restate, "No thank you."

With Sovereign fixed, I call Fidelity. Phone tree asks my SSN, and then immediately connects me to a rep. This rep is much more upbeat, even making jokes with me (well, laughing at my pitiful jokes). She is able to unlock my account and offers to wait while I log in. She asks if I she can help me at all, and I ask for clarification on a prior issue. She answers my question, and that conversation leads to a discussion about me possibly opening up a Fidelity IRA in the future. 

I noticed several key customer experience differences between these calls:
  • The Sovereign rep sounded bored out of his mind. The Fidelity rep sounded excited to talk to me.
  • The Sovereign rep clearly had a script to follow. The Fidelity rep was given more flexibility.
  • At the end of the Sovereign call, I started thinking again about moving to a credit union. At the end of the Fidelity call, I felt excited about possibly opening a new account with Fidelity.
  • When the Fidelity phone system took my SSN, it knew that I needed to speak to a rep, so it directly routed me to one. Sovereign's phone system made me jump through hoops to get to the right rep.
But if you look at the technical differences, there are really only two: a smarter phone system and a better customer rep. This can't be that hard to set up, can it?
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