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Old 11-29-2010, 09:47 PM
 
926 posts, read 2,011,983 times
Reputation: 503

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Common sense in a customer service job dictates that when a customer writes us an email and further action is required - i.e. the email ticket has to be escalated to an account manager for an adjustment, we should acknowledge the customer's email and tell them something like: "Dear Mrs. Smith, Thank you for contacting us today. Please stand by while our account management team makes the requested adjustment to your account. As soon as the adjustment is made, you will be contacted again.
Sincerely,
Joe Blow"

That's actually a pretty typical response. I was trained to do this and in a recent team meeting with our supervisor, I mentioned how I sometimes see tickets that are escalated to an account manager without the customer being acknowledged/asked to wait. Two of my team mates show our customers the courtesy they deserve and always reply to their messages. The problem is that another colleague sometimes does, sometimes doesn't. Now why is this important to me? It's important for 4 reasons:
1. I think it's rude to leave the customer hanging and sometimes they write again asking if we received their first message
2. Not replying negatively affects our metrics: each time an email is received, it's counted. Every time a reply is sent, it's counted. Every time no reply is sent, it affects our team's results (100% of emails received and not replied to)
3. It negatively affects our team's reputation in the customers' eyes, not to mention it affects the brand's image.
4. If our team metrics are not as high as management would like, they are more likely to think of hiring someone else (and reducing my hours like they did before because I am the only part timer on the team and my hours are "subject to change with notice and according to the company's needs", according to management).

In short, it's bad for business not to reply to our customers. Now what do you do when a colleague fails to meet this minimum standard and your supervisor turns a blind eye? I get the feeling that she doesn't want to **** off the guy because he's an early bird (something they like) and is an asset to them in other ways. What would you do in this situation? Mention something to the colleague about metrics and the company's reputation for top quality service being compromised by his actions, mention it casually in a future meeting or let it go? Our supervisor doesn't like when people criticize team members and I understand this, but it's the department manager who thought improving metrics was so important.
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Somewhere Out West
2,268 posts, read 2,246,279 times
Reputation: 1915
Quote:
Originally Posted by ValueAddedWorker View Post
Now what do you do when a colleague fails to meet this minimum standard and your supervisor turns a blind eye? I get the feeling that she doesn't want to **** off the guy because he's an early bird (something they like) and is an asset to them in other ways. What would you do in this situation? Mention something to the colleague about metrics and the company's reputation for top quality service being compromised by his actions, mention it casually in a future meeting or let it go? Our supervisor doesn't like when people criticize team members and I understand this, but it's the department manager who thought improving metrics was so important.
I mind my own business. If I am not the supervisor or the manager, then I butt out and let them deal with the issue as they see fit.

Then again if you criticize the team member maybe that will be the final catalyst your supervisor needs to actually fire you. With all that has been posted by you and your work place relationship, I am surprised it hasn't happened yet... then again, I understand the concept of miracles so may have to concede that your continued employment is also a miracle.
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:22 PM
 
935 posts, read 2,239,510 times
Reputation: 469
First of all, I wish we had more customer service people who believe in replying to customers while they wait. Most are usually pretty good about it, but sometimes you are left wondering what's going to happen. I can also see why you would be concerned since the numbers affect you as well and it feels as though you have no power over it, but you'll still be blamed for it.

However, it sounds as though your supervisor is either not taking the situation seriously, thinks you are being nit-picky, or wants the employee to keep failing so he/she feels justified if they have to lay-off someone. Office politics is often so complicated that many are afraid to make too much of a fuss over this situation. Personally, if I worked in an office I would either shrug it off or I would just do a gentle reminder about sending out replies so the customers know they can trust you guys and you guys can keep your jobs. Though, I would only do the latter if you were on good terms with the other guy.

I'm not a big fan of office work because it is so easy to get caught up in the politics of kissing the right butts, not taking chances for fear that you'll upset the system, etc. So, if it is possible I would try to brush it off or do a gentle reminder. Don't rub it in or accuse him/her, just say, "Oh, and don't forget to let them know we're working on it. Thanks!"
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