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Is your customer service your biggest competitor?

Recently I placed a customer service call to my local cable operator, whom my family has been a subscriber for approximately 50 years. During that period the ownership has gone from a locally owned small company to a regional company to a national operator.

Every sale has resulted in a major step down in customer service. At one time your call went to a cross trained principal in the company, now it starts at the lowest level, where the CSR knows less than you do about their product and services (see excerpts under “Tiered Customer Support is Dead”.)

Not only do you have to go through several menu steps, you have to repeat all that information at every hand-off. Not acceptable!

As suggested below, it’s critical that companies realize that tiered support calls are becoming extinct. Very important to have knowledge based collaborative analytics in place to pinpoint problems and take corrective action.

Another call I placed was relative to the high cost of my cable bill. I brought out the fact that although I have been a long time subscriber I could move to a satellite company at less costs. The extended conversation resulted in a 15% reduction, with no service changes. If the operator had proactively tracked competitive options, and given the discount in advance of call (via a rewards program), they would earn a much greater brand loyalty –

Excerpt -

A customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related vs. price or product related. (Bain & Co.)

A 10% increase in customer retention levels result in a 30% increase in the value of the company. (Bain & Co) product related. (Bain & Co.)

Customer churn is attributed to the poor quality of customer service. (Accenture Maximizing Customer Retention Report)

18 Interesting Stats to Get You Rethinking Your Customer Service Process

By Kendall Thornton in Customer Service

Excerpts –

Your customer service agents are just as responsible for the integrity of your brand as your marketers, and just as critical to customer retention as your sales team. When your products aren’t operating as you planned and things really hit the fan, your support team is the first line of defense for detecting and resolving customer concerns.

Despite the direct impact support agents have on the success of your business, 92% of companies surveyed reported a decline in customer satisfaction; consumers were most disappointed by inconsistent service.

Tiered Customer Support is Dead (And Why That’s Good for Business)


FOR AS LONG as customer support departments have been around, the idea of having a “Tiered” or “Level” model of support has been around. When new technicians were hired, they were placed in the “Tier 1” group and handled the most basic of questions. Anything above their ability was moved up to a Tier 2 technician to address, and so on.

Tiering is Bad for the Customer

Customers are smart, and they know your product. They use it all the time and have figured out a lot of the tips and tricks to make it work in their environment.

Very few things upset a customers more than calling support and having to deal with an agent who knows less about the product than they do, and that’s exactly what happens many times in a heavily Tiered support operation.

The customer is forced to call and explain the issue to a junior agent, then when that agent realizes that she can’t answer the question—something the customer already figured out 15 minutes ago—the customer gets put on hold and stuck in the level 2 queue.

If the customer has a complex problem that ends up needing a technician who is several levels up, you can only imagine the frustration of having talked to a number of people and being transferred or put on hold numerous times.

The tiered model of support is one we have all experienced, but something that we—as consumers—avoid as much as we can.

What’s the Solution? Collaboration

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