No Magic Wands For Customer Service

No Magic Wands For Customer Service


The Official Dell Corporate Blog

No Magic Wands For Customer Service

So… you wanna talk about service?  Let’s do it.  WARNING: this post will be a bit longer than the norm and is just the tip of the iceberg.  I’ll kick it off and then we will take it where you want to go.

The good news is that we know what we need to do.  You’ve been telling us.  Our number one priority is to get better at problem resolution.  I can almost hear the collective “duh” out there as I write this.  But this problem is complex, from finding the right products on the web, tracking orders before delivery and getting something corrected if it shows up wrong to getting the latest drivers and bios and replacing parts.  We also spend a lot of time helping connect your PCs to other electronic devices you may own, keeping your computers virus-free or even helping you load new software.  Many times we’re helping customers with stuff they didn’t even buy from Dell.  And you want the dell dude (or dudette) that you talk/chat with to be friendly, patient, empathetic and, above all else, knowledgeable about you and your problem.  Oh... and did I mention that you want it to be fast and easy? 

Right.  We got it.  If we could wave our magic wand, it would already be done.  But much too all our chagrin, it takes time.  We are working on exactly these problems… and many more. 

Right about now you’re thinking: “So, if you understand the problem so well… why do you even have it?”   We ended up here because during the days of our rapid growth, each business segment (this is our Dell term to refer to the teams selling to corporations, small businesses, state and local government, etc.) listened to customers independently and tailored policies and services around its customers needs.  For a while, it worked exceedingly well.  

But as the segments grew so did the process duplications and discrepancies.  Like the proverbial frog in the pot of water that slowly starts to boil, we didn’t realize that many of our problem resolution processes were no longer designed from a customer’s perspective.

When you contacted us to fix a problem we didn’t always act like “one Dell.”  Our processes/policies often required multiple groups to get involved.  That’s not good.  It really slowed down our ability to resolve issues and made it too easy for things to fall through the cracks between groups.  This led to difficult return policies, cumbersome rebate policies and confusing pricing structures, for example.  Our agents had to transfer calls to get customers to the people who could solve their problems since they can only see their small piece of the pie.  The organization became complex and difficult for our service advocates to navigate and fix your problems.  We know that.

We’re spending more than a $100 million — and a lot of blood, sweat and tears of talented people — to fix this.  In the past months we have taken a more holistic look at our business.  We are radically restructuring our contact centers — the intent is to redesign the whole process and put customers and service agents at the center of it.  The service agent is our bridge to you and they need to have tools and help available at the tip of their fingers to support you (BusinessWeek Q&A).  

We will make this change, we are well underway, but it took many years to get here and it will take time to re-vamp.  Processes are being reengineered and we are taking a rigorous 6-sigma style approach to doing this, we are increasing our training for service agents and we are developing tools that will help them solve your problems.  We also need to make these tools available to you, as many of you prefer to research and solve your own problems. 

The good news is that improvements will be continuous.  The magic wand won’t get us there all at once, but things are already getting better in many areas.  We have fixed the issue of long hold times for our U.S. consumer customers (those of you buying PCs for personal use in your home).  Last Fall(ish), we had a spike in calls and our average answer time went up to about 10 minutes.  While we didn’t think this was good… we didn’t know how bad it was.  Turns out that the average was very misleading!  We got many complaints and as we looked more deeply we learned that a really big portion of the calls were taking longer than 30 minutes to answer.  Yikes!  We had to completely rethink our staffing practices to handle the volumes.  Now, virtually every call is answered in 10 minutes or less.   In reality, most are answered within 4 minutes.  Whew!  Spikes here and there may throw this off from time to time but “red flags” go up all over the place if ANY customer waits 30 minutes.  We also have found that some of our phone numbers and extensions aren’t getting to the right place or even dead ends… we have cleaned the vast majority of these numbers and are still going. 

A few other things we have done: since May, we have been searching thousands of blogs that mention Dell every day to see what we can learn and to identify problems we can solve.  In June, we began providing free basic OS support (it had been fee-based) since this was the root cause of a lot of customer problems.  In August, in the U.S., we will be reducing use of mail-in rebates and simplifying our promotion and pricing structures to make them easier for customers to understand (More on that in a future post).

I have only scratched the surface of the work we are doing to improve our ability to resolve your problems.  In the coming days and weeks the people responsible for improving Dell customer service are going to join the conversation.  I’d also like to share with you the work our manufacturing, operations, web and product development teams are doing to prevent problems before they happen.  I probably have one of the coolest jobs in Dell, I get to work with Vice Presidents and our top process engineers around the entire corporation on our strategies.  The passion and commitment within Dell is exciting and intense.  We have a sense of urgency.  We have a plan we believe in, and we’re ready to share it and get your feedback.  Where do you want to start?

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  • You seem to be making some very questionable calculations about who it's important to respond to. You blocked not one, but two, of my critical comments in the "We're listening" thread. I have to wonder what criteria you were using to cherrypick the customer comments that would give you the best appearance of transparency.

    This is very poor blogging strategy on Dell's part, because I then exercised my option to post about the experience <a href="">elsewhere</a>.  And I'm considering cross-posting on a number of other prominent community blogs.
  • Laura, you've struck a great chord at just the right moment; I'm finishing up a review of this blog right now.  I wish you the best as you strive to apply the lessons you learn about corporate blogging to what you publish here.
  • Does this mean you'll be moving your callcenters back to a native english-speaking country?
  • Laura-

    Big congrats to you guys for coming out with this post.  I have high hopes that this blog can help you guys in becoming exactly what you want to be.

    Very good work...

    Paul McEnany
  • I found it interesting that a story that featured this blog and Dell's customer service problems should air on CNBC on the day that it took me 40 minutes to get a change of address made to our account with Dell Financial Services. I chose not to attempt this on the DFS website because it required a login that may have already been created by someone else in our organization. Instead I foolishly thought a simple phone call would take care of it. My first 25 minutes was spent following phone trees that all led to the same point: a prompt that didn't recognize the account number but would only allow you to reenter the same number it didn't recognize. I finally quit exploring the dead end branches and indicated I wanted to make a purchase for our small business. Only then was I connected to a live person. After 7 minutes on hold after reaching him, I was transferred to an off-shore call center where the CSR took my COA information and asked me to wait for another 5 minutes while he "filled out the form." Any first year programmer knows you have to prepare for the response you don't expect- in this case an account number that isn't recognized. Forget the "people" problems, you can't even make your technology work right. You don't need a "magic wand" you just need a commitment to service that, based on my experience today, you haven't yet made. Why is it that with $100MM and a host of "talented people" you can't even take a change of address without blowing 40 minutes of my time? BTW: when I related this experience to our general manager his response was "Oh yeah. The only way you can talk to someone at Dell is to act like you want to buy something."
  • Laura,
    Thank you for your comments;  I've spent the better part of the last two years studying organizational complexity and innovation and can understand just how difficult it must be to get the constituent parts of a single organization, like Dell, to move in unison.  
    If I might point to one issue that I have raised on this blog in another post - and extensively addressed in the Dell Community Forum- I hope that you can address the issue of multiple avenues of communication between Dell and customers.  I placed an order for one of the XPS 700 and have since become dismayed because I get so many different messages from Dell regarding the shipping date.  To be more specific, I see at least 6 different ways to get a shipping date:
    1. The date provided in the confirmation email
    2, and 3. The two different dates provided on the order tracking module on my Account site
    4. A Different date from the Customer care rep.
    5. A different date from the sales rep.
    6. A different date from the moderators at the Dell Community forum.

    (not to mention your founder, Michael Dell's recent announcement that the XPS 700 would be available with the Core 2 Duo / Core 2 Extreme chips as soon as Intel makes the announcement...)

    So, please dont take this comment as another gripe about this delay; to be sure, I'm frustrated by the delay and uncertainty about the Core 2 Duo processor availability, but I think the more pressing concern, from your point of view, has to be this disconect in lines of communication, where the customer gets so many different messages.  

    As a customer of 8 or 9 years, and as a customer who is eagerly awaiting the new XPS 700, I think that we're in this together... so, I'd like to get your thoughts as to what Dell might do to streamline the message.
  • In the realm of tech support, I would suggest that Dell phone technicians be more willing to skip trobleshooting steps if the person is clearly knowledgeable, or has followed reasonable steps already, "Ok, before I called, I unplugged everything, re-plugged, rebooted, etc..."
    This is preferable to making them do every single step from their troubleshooting playbook - it saves the call center employee and the customer a lot of time.

    Also, I think Dell is making a big mistake in eliminating "legacy" ports such as PS/2 ports for keyboards and parallel ports for printers.
    A lot of my clients (I'm an independent freelance support tech) are chagrinned to find out the keyboard and/or printer they liked can't be used on their new Dell PC.  Are Dell sales people asking customers if they're planning on holding onto PS/2 style keyboards or parallel port printers?  I doubt it.

    And on top of that, there are only four USB ports in the back of some of the more value-priced Dells - so the keyboard and mouse already consume two of these valuable ports, leaving only two in the back for a printer, digital camers, etc...  Yes, there are ports in the front, but most people avoid using them for aesthetic reasons.
  • I have been a two-time Dell notebook and Axim owner.  The customer support inevitably consisted of long waits to speak to someone in a foreign country, whom I could barely understand, for hours-- oh, and did I forget getting disconnected at times.  After all of that, I would be told that the only thing I could do was to re-install Windows.  The first time I actually did it.  What a nghtmare.  Several times I was able to solve the problem myself-- for instance, by re-installing some drivers.  I am a health professional with a modicum of computer knowledge-- so, what does that tell you.

    When I bought my second Dell notebook, I laughed when making the choice for in-home or mail-in support.  I figured that I would be more likely to be struck by lightening than to have someone come to my home.  I'd be thrilled if I could just get some help when I called in.

    On the positive side, when my CD drive gave me problems, another was mailed to me overnight.

    I am still using my second laptop, but I will probably be in the market for a new one in the near future.  Before reading this blog and finding out that you are working on the problem, I had decided on ABD-- anything but Dell-- this despite the fact that all of your products have given me excellent service.  I just couldn't face the prospect of dealing with technical help.  I find the outsourcing unbearable.  The people are nice enough, and I think that they are trying hard.  However, when I can't understand them and they seem to be reading from some script that dictates that they say my name repeatedly while trying to placate me with politeness (ordinarily something I treasure), I want to pull my hair out-- slowly, one by one....   Make me want to buy another Dell, please!
  • I believe I read the entire blog entry and did not see one part in which you would return the call centers back to the USA?  Dell is at the top of the list in terms of being brought up in CSR "hell" stories around the water cooler, specifically, the call center issue.  

    The call center workers typically seem to be nice enough and hard working, but once they are done with your script, that's it.  Language makes it difficult to reason and explain the problem, which has to be even worse for people that have less computer knowledge than people like myself.

    Not to mention that it might give Dell a good name again in the US for returning US jobs.

    Now off to find the blog entry on when Dell will try to return to their "new kid on the block" days where they were all about quality.
  • Here's a thought...

    Preventative? Quit selling the Inspiron series, would ya? I work at an independant computer store and we have a section of our basement dedicated to dead inspirons.

    Or if you wanna keep the brand name (that identifies your company as substandard) fine. But quit making junk. And I know its cheaper to just replace the ones that break cause it cost you so little to make in the first place but posting a blog about getting better isn't enough. Sounds more like my buddy saying "This time I'm really gonna quit smoking"

    And don't pitch it like you've been growing and now your ready to make this step. That is quite frankly insulting. You didn't start up a tiny little mail order company with a call centre based out of India, did ya?

    You know what? I really hope you do get a handle on your service issues. It would be so good for everyone. But I'll save my congrats for five years later, which is really the shortest timeline you could hope for to fix the mess you've made
  • First of all, thumbs up to you guys working on the way that a call is handled. As a help desk/network/computer technician for my community college, I realise how important it is to field a call primarly myself so that the right hand knows what the left hand did. Although personally, i really don't want some unbearably cheery fake tech person on the other line. All i want is that they are knowledgeable and not a-holes, they can be as un-empathetic and deadpan as they want to as long as they know their stuff and don't patronise me.

    To everyone else, we are an all Dell campus and I will say that Optiplex systems while more expensive than the Dimension line, are more rigourously tested and quality assured. Optiplex system's are designed for the enterprise environment and are generally of high reliability. We did have problems with GX260 power supplies and GX270 motherboards but the systems were still within the 3-year warranty. The problem stemmed from poor capacitor chemical formulation which plagued multiple overseas component producers for a time, but this was no fault of Dell's.

    Computers are complicated, and few other things can have one thing break (or even just change!) and that one thing cascade into other things breaking (especially in an enterprise environment). Windows is a complex mistress to tame when asking that it play nicely and helpfully with third party applications that access its core software components. With malicious stealth malware on the rise, the complexity grows even greater. Please be nice with tech support people, they have to deal with people who can barely turn on a PC and often times people better off sticking to an abacus. While i realise PC's are complicated and confusing, they are becoming essential like having a drivers lisence. Everyone who owns a PC or uses one for financial/work/business use should take a few courses at their community college and spare the help desk from walking someone through getting to the internet when their IE icon isnt on their desktop or finding out what their IP is. Take a course, save your sanity, protect yourself, save an IT persons sanity.

    -Sir Latency
  • Matthew, I too feel your pain....

    I have gotten fair service from Dell support even with ESL support personell but calls definitely would have been resolved quicker with someone who was better at English.
  • Laura,
    I am so glad you posted on this new blog. I just today had an interaction with you tech support department and would like to suggest how Dell could save a lot of money and serve there customers better. BTW when I have finally reached a live person their knowledge, demeanor and empathy have been excellent. I don't fault them a bit.

    Background: I brought a Inspiron Core Duo notebook this past April. In June the screen developed a defect. I called June 28 and was walked through the diagnosis process and did indeed verify that the screen was defective. It wasn't a work stopper. On July 9 I called back to go over the diagnosis and get the process started for a replacement. I have an onsite agreement so the tech assigned me a case # and a dispatch #. The repair tech would call me when the part arrived and schedule a visit  at my convenience. So far, so good. He said expect Tues or Wed.

    So today is Thurs and I started to get concerned. So I thought I would call and check the status. No bid deal;5 minutes. Would you belive 45 minutes.

    As your post points out customer support is balkanized. I had to go thru voice mail hell. The voice recognition is not the best so I have to repeat, the option I want is not listed and it is difficult to get to a live person.

    I suggest that the branching be reorder. First it should ask new sales, tech support or existing case. that's it. Then people like me could select option three, enter my case number and be routed automatically to the right group. What's the use of a case number if I have to rehash the story each time or navigate voice mail thrown in with other callers who don't have a case number or even purchased yet.

    That way your existing customers would get better service, your 800 # bill for people on hold would be reduced greatly and every one wins.

    So when I finally spoke with my tech he could not give me an answer why I hadn't been called yet. He promised to look into and send me an email on the status. As of midnight I haven't got an answer.

    By the way I did try the web site to see if I could look up my case # or  dispatch # but no luck either.

    So what a waste of my time.

    What really burns me is that there was no mechanism for speaking to someone who can effect change. Now with this blog I can get this off my chest where it will do some good.

    BTW I am very happy so far with the notebook, my first. Very fast, screen is incredibly sharp and bright (my biggest reason I took this long). This is my only PC now, and I am loving the portable lifestyle.

    I am a blogger myself, so I welcome you to the blogosphere and the web 2.0 ethic of transparency.
  • Glad that Dell is finally going to a simplified pricing structure- less rebates / coupons

    Actually dell is killing off its own brand by
    - trying to sell on price than quality - the dells lag way behind ibm in sturdiness
    - not sticking to a simple and cool design-constant changes - wide screens/diff resolutions- keep it simple.
    - stop those coupons on slickdeals etc... The amount that someone expects to pay for dell has come down with those hefty promotions that people are waiting for ever for coupons and no longer willing to pay even 1000$ for a entry dell laptop anymore.
    - need a better affiliate program
  • I think you can make significant inroads into customer satisfaction by moving your customer service call centers back to the USA.  Being the network admin at my office, I call Dell support several times a week, and I have to tell you, I generally find trying to explain the problem to the Indian voice on the other end of the line to be far more irritating than the problem itself.

    I think your sales department should also cut prices in general, instead of scalping those people who don't know to look for coupons on
  • where does dell want to start?

    how about start by compensating the thousands of xps700 customers who have been cheated?

    what dell has done with the xps700, either intentionally or unintentionally is extremely unethical

    we have paid top dollar for a premium system and after being forced to endure numerous delays, when dell finally ships it to us, we get processors that are completely outdated and obsolete.  on top of that....we were WAY overcharged for the outdated processors because we paid the market prices from months before our systems will actually arrive.

    dell needs to either

    1) give everybody that ordered an xps700 a conroe (at little or no additional cost to dell because we paid high prices for the obsolete pentium D's dell's currently planning to ship us)


    2) give everybody that is getting an outdated Pentium D a substantial discount in the form of credit back to our accounts, not concession coupons or free printers or whatever other cheap junk dell is currently overstocked with

    either one of these options is the only ethical way dell as a company can compensate all of us here who have been cheated and exploited
  • If Dell really wanted to address the tech and customer support issues, then they should hire an experienced IT Professional, preferably a process control expert. If this individual has previously had bad customer support experiences, then that is a plus. If I were the CEO of Dell, I would hire 2 people with this profile. However, I would make sure that these new hires were energized with the objective of improving Dell's support functions. Both individuals should have access to top level management and to the necessary resources, so that concrete results can be produced.

    Part of the job requirements should be that they post to this blog on a regular basis. Dell is making a mistake by having a marketing oriented person as its blogger for this blog. Dell's customers will not buy more PR jargon with zero results.

    Bottom line, not only real dialogue needs to be produced but substantial improvements also need to be produced, if Dell wants to stop the decline of the Dell image and customer base.

  • I'm quite happy to hear you do admit some faults and take ownership of your customer service. ::applause::. However, I see a few unexplained components - the mechanics on how you will change it, and more details. I foresee that this will be answered in future blog postings.

    We all know whats on consumer's minds. They want someone they can easily talk to. Regardless of prejudice, they need someone without accents or has a barrier in communication. One already mentioned here about your call centers, and how they want them in the United States. I know your other call centers offshore are well educated and talented, the only thing holding that back is the communication barrier (or tolerance of customers to adapt).

    You stated you are investing over a hundred million... is that for domestic call centers or offshore. I believe the ROI with domestic call centers is far higher than offshore simply due to first-call-resolution. I'd rather speak to someone once for 20 minutes rather like four 20 minute calls - and thereby costing Dell even more money.

    I personally do not own a dell nor do I recommend one, due to this reputation your company has - poor customer service. However, with an avenue like this blog - you have an opportunity to change that, rather a receipt of change - once your CSR's change.

    What do I know about call centers and Tech support? I am tech support, domestically here for AOL, and we too have offshore call centers. I see all the problems and obstacles first hand that customers must hop through to get their answers. Hands down, customers find it disrespectful a company would make them call several times to get an answer. They hate complex IVR's - which you have as well. It took me 8 minutes to traverse your IVR to the RMA queue to replace someone's hard drive. This is unacceptable.

    Anyhow, I do look forward to your followup and future blog postings.

    Joseph Manna
  • I think your headlines says it all, and it's brutally honest: "No Magic Wands for Customer Service."

    Re-engineering customer service is one of the most difficult challenges for large brands, and I frankly think at this moment in time you are making very good progress relative the "industry standard."  Despite the consumer-generated "media impressions" that emanate from  customer service operations, the reality is that customer service/consumer affairs rarely commands the attention and respect (or resources) of marketing or media planning.  I say this with the frame of reference of having attended and presented to over a dozen conferences of the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals, and it's very clear that these departments are rewarded for two core behaviors: reducing contacts, and reducing time-spent per contact.  Even the PR industry, which is so focused on blog creation and conversations, is largely divorced from core strategies and business processes around customer service, call-support, contact-us.  So against that backdrop, I think you are doing fine.  My one important piece of advice that  I'll elaborate on my blog later is to keep opening up the direct  online feedback pipe to Dell....not just to the online community, or the FAQ, or this blog comment page.  Your email "contact us" has (to borrow from P&G parlance) "opportunities."  Sometimes consumers just want to "break through" and the perception of the "open door" or "welcome mat" is haff the game in making consumers feel emotionally connected to the brand.  This is something I learned after collecting over a million lettes and comments through   Consumer expression divers to "external" expression vehicle because brands fail to absorb and welcome those instinctual "feedback moments."   I think Dell is doing an impressive  job on promoting the welcome mat through very targeted 800 numbers, and WAY better than industry standard.  But some of the real simple stuff like "send an email with your opinion" is very difficult.  I encourage you to look into this.  (Full disclosure: my current and previous firm has done work for Dell, but I have no connection to this project)
  • It's good to see that Dell is finally getting it. There is nothing more frustrating to someone than to go out and drop 1-10% of their annual salary on a computer and have the company seem to fall apart at the seams the first time you contact them for support. I have been a systems admin and software developer for nearly 10 years and here are some of the most basic tips I can share with you.

    Create an auto update app thats not full of spyware, similar to IBM/Lenovo's software update, it updates all software/drivers/bios on a given machine/laptop.

    Provide easy and convenient contact!! If I have a low priority problem or a question I don't want to wait on hold! I want to drop someone an email and wait for them to get back to me. This should be priority #1! The support should also speak English clearly, and be able to actually troubleshoot a problem not just follow scripts.

    Drop the marketing gimmicks, I know salespeople everywhere are saying oh blah! Seriously though I understand that the best way to make a profit is to confuse and obfuscate to trick the consumer into thinking they are making a killer deal when they really aren't. Here is an example for you.

    I bought my wife a new Dell E510 desktop in May. The reason I did this is because I was very happy with the Dimension 8400 my work purchased for me over a year ago. I am a bargain hunter so i dug for coupon codes and deals. I wound up getting my wifes machine for a reasonable price of $733.85 before tax and shipping. While typing this missive I rebuilt the same machine, using the best coupon code I could find. Todays cost for the EXACT same machine,  is $809.90 before shipping and tax. Come on, identically configured systems should go down in price. Dump the phony coupons, take away the phone reps ability to be able to flex on prices and just lower the bloody prices to you bottom dollar or the median of your bottom dollar. I know companies make money by people not using coupons, not turning in rebates etc, maybe its time for a large company to show they aren't looking to make a small profit off those few people that don't get their rebate in on time.

    Dump the junk! Make a option on EVERY machine to come with JUST the software I choose and don't make me call and speak to a sales rep to do it. If want to order the machine with just windows on it then just put that on there, provide me a CD with your promotional crud and I may look at it.

    Give me OPTIONS! I know its easier to have only two graphics cards available and supported but you know what, it drives customers away. I will be in the market for a new machine by the end of the year myself, but I don't want an x300 or x600 card, since I cant order it with the card I want from you then likely i will go to someone who will let me order what I want. The saddest part is because of how open the hardware channel is to people of the world now, we all see that OEM cards are cheaper than retail yet companies like yours charge MORE than a retail card would cost.
  • Dell announced on Late Thursday that it plans to institute a series of pricing changes over the next 12 to 18 months that will result in fewer promotions and rebates for its consumer and small-business products.  The company stated that the moves should result in a 70% cut in promotions for individual product lines, and an 80% reduction in price promotions for individual products.  Dell VP Rosendo Parra said these moves were being made in order to create "a simple pricing and sales structure" for the customer.  A primary target of these reductions are mail in rebates - which tend to have a messy process for both company and customer.

    This change in promotions strategy comes on the heels of two other huge moves by Dell.  First, the company stated it plans to invest $100 million into its customer service operations.  In addition, Dell took its first steps into the new media world of blogging with their one2one site.  It is this second move that has many people in the bloggosphere in a tizzy fit....(see for full post)
  • I stand corrected the base machine I started with had additional service on it that wasn't included in the order for my wifes machine. The correct configuration is indeed cheaper coming in at $694.20. See what I mean about confusing though?
  • I might believe you when you prove your CSRs can understand and speak ENGLISH. Then we can talk about wait time and try another department.
  • While: "Last quarter, there were more than 400 million visits to  On a daily basis, we take more than 150,000 calls, process thousands of e-mails and engage in thousands of chat sessions.  It all adds up to millions of customers per week.", Dell has made many millions of dollars.  

    So you play in the big leagues.  Glad you've decided to play to win the whole game, not just with the big hitters.  My company is doing a desktop refresh moving from all Compaq/HP to Dell.  Surely we got a good deal - and we buy desktops by the thousands and laptops by the hundreds.  Have not been able to recommend Dell to others due to infamous support issues, so if you can reform you'll win the game.  No one expects overnight course correction but tangible progress will earn you goodwill that will translate into more of those billions.  Good luck - really!  Hope Dell can show the industry how to do it.
  • With regard to customer service improvement, please be careful when emphasizing "friendly, patient, empathetic", and make sure that it doesn't become an artificial thing that just gets in the way.

    One of your competitors, still probably dealing with it's major merger, has reps that are trying so hard to be empathetic that they sprinkle and interrupt the conversation with obviously canned statements like "I understand why you are so upset", which is said even if you are not upset! Between the language barrier and the unending "false empathy" statements, it can eventually get pretty frustrating when you just want some answers.

    I suspect that those reps have been given a list of empathetic statements that they are told to use, and I wouldn't be surprised if they even are measured against an empathy goal for it. That's really pushing it too far, and defeats the whole purpose of a good customer service experience.