Don’t Leave Me Hanging!

don't leave me hangingManaging your bills online is amazingly simple–most of the time. I have my credit card through my insurance company and to pay the bill, I login, click “Pay” and BAM. Done. However, I logged in recently and my credit card was not accessible. In fact, it wasn’t even registering that I had one through them. I contacted them via email and they said an error had occurred but it will be up soon. A week later, still nothing. I finally called their support and spoke with an agent who was quite friendly at the beginning. I told my reason for calling and his tone of voice totally changed. He asks me to walk through the online adding of a new credit card to the account. It wasn’t a new account, so why re-add? He then says very nonchalantly, “Oh, we had a system issue in which our entire database removed credit cards from over 10,000 accounts. It’s then up to the customer to login and re-add it.”

I was baffled–then asked the big question, “Why were we not notified of this?”

He didn’t have an answer. His silence after I asked this said it all. I then made a comment about how he probably has received that question 10,000 times from all the unhappy customers. He laughed for a second then was quiet again.

There was no, “Sorry this happened” or “We really apologize for our mistake”. There was no drop of empathy whatsoever.

He then says, “Ok, I’ve manually re-added your account for you. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

I said “nope” and ended the call.

Moral of this story: Big issues happen, tell your customers. And, give them a little empathy action. A sorry can go a long way. Don’t leave them hanging.

[custom_author=jenny]

With over a decade of customer service experience, Jenny has been recognized through social media channels as a thought leader. She is co-founder and a regular contributor on the Customer Service Life. When she's not helping or singing to customers, she is studying to become an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Be sure to follow her on social media!

2 comments

  • Such a relevant insight Jenny! Two things I see here:

    1. We have talked about this so much but when you mess up, be proactive in admitting it to customers. They should have had a team of people calling customers helping them re-add their credit cards or at minimum an email.

    2. I could be wrong but doesn’t it seem like front line support was probably taking a beating from customers and management probably closed their doors to the issue and said “That’s why we pay you to answer phones.” Man that’s a hard position to be in as a customer service rep. I hope, hope, hope we are listening to our CSRs well enough to hear when this happens and find a solution. Critical internal customer service!

    • Yes—admitting those mistakes is crucial to restore trust in the customer. They definitely should have at the very least sent an email. Or, to save them trouble, emailed each insurance agent and asked that they personally follow up with their customers.

      It really did sound like the front line was taking a beating. That viewpoint of “that’s why we pay you to answer phones” is garbage! Each agent has the chance to help others and they are getting paid to do it.

      I hope we’re allowing our agents to feel that they are valued by listening to them and responding. I guess there’s always room for improvement but I think we’re definitely doing something right!

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