The very helpful SunTrust Mortgage customer service rep was the epitome of professional. She was pleasant, thorough and genuinely wanted to help me resolve my problem.
However, the SunTrust computer system wouldn’t let her.
The reason for my call was to set up automatic payments for my new SunTrust mortgage. I had used their automatic phone tree to set up the payment, but the system told me I’d pay a $5 late fee even though I was doing this two weeks in advance.
I then tried doing it online, as I have for nearly all of my other accounts. I laboriously filled out all the required information. But the system kept refusing to accept my information, telling me to contact customer support.
The helpful rep walked through the process and it wouldn’t let her do it either. Only by her asking her supervisor did we learn that the system won’t let the customer set up an automatic payment until after the first payment.
Why didn’t the web site state that? Why didn’t the phone system tell me that? Why did I have to waste 30 minutes trying to do something the company wants — to get paid on time every time?
So SunTrust has hired and trained very good customer service reps. But then it shoots itself in the foot by having systems that don’t allow the customers, let alone the reps, do what they want to do, and then make the information as to why not hard to get.
But here is the clincher.
I was emailed a survey afterward. After-service surveys are good. But the design was bad. It asked only how the customer service rep behaved. She was stellar as far as she could go in getting through the irrational system. When it asked if she resolved the problem, I had to say no, as the system wouldn’t allow her to solve the problem.
There were no survey questions on how the system served or failed me. If there had been, the company would have gathered valuable information on how their lack of customer-focused systems had irritated this new customer. They will keep annoying customers because they have no idea their system is broken — unless their very good customer service reps take the initiative to report it. And if someone takes their report seriously.
- Are you measuring the wrong things?
- Do you have a way to get customers’ feedback on all a customer’s touch points, not just a live person’s interaction?
- If not, you may have some glaring holes that will continue to drive your customers away, no matter how much you spend on customer service training.
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