You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Customer-Service Lessons to Glean From Comcast's Snafu Make your client-support process a win for all involved, not excluding those answering the phones.

By Tomas Gorny

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Comcast's public image took a hit last week when an audio recording of an overzealous customer-service representative went viral. As the CEO of a business phone-service provider (with no connection to Comcast), I felt for the rep on the line, trying desperately to keep the customer.

But as I continued to listen to the increasingly painful call, it appeared to me that rather than acting in the best interest of the customer, the rep's passion most likely stemmed from an ulterior motive. Incentive programs can be a driver for such behavior.

Related: This Might Be the Most Infuriating Customer Service Call Ever

Yet incentive programs are not meant to provide employees with a permit to mistreat customers in the pursuit of compensation. While not all incentives are evil, some of the best-intended incentives can be exploited and can backfire on a company if there's little monitoring and behavioral training in place.

Good customer service isn't always the easiest goal to achieve, especially for time-strapped small business owners. And one negative PR event can deliver a serious blow to future revenue. As the Comcast story quiets down, four lessons can be learned:

Related: Bot or Person? The Customer Automation Conundrum.

1. Focus on the basics. Don't let callers wait on hold. Try to answer calls in less than three rings. Quick response times can decrease customer aggravation if or when something goes wrong and can help callers feel confident they will get a person on the line if they dial back in the future.

Avoid complicating the phone menu. Adding multiple options to the phone menu might at first glance appear to simplify the user experience, but do callers feel that way?

It's not pleasant to plow through a lengthy phone menu with numerous options only to encounter a long hold time to speak with a representative and then be transferred to a different department. Keep the options simple and customers will be much happier.

2. Personalize the training process. Continually training and monitoring customer service reps is incredibly important. But formal seminars are not needed to be sure everyone is on the same page. The reality is, not every employee has the same strengths or weaknesses.

Assign an internal quality-assurance person to listen to customer interactions and use the weaknesses identified as opportunities to hold small, personalized training sessions. Focused meetings will enhance the customer experience and boost employee morale.

Related: Will Your Company Be a Leader of the Customer-Service Revolution?

3. Focus on the employees. Happy employees attract happy customers. Invest in employees, whether through career-advancement opportunities, a positive company culture or having company leaders listen to concerns on a regular basis. The customer-retention stats will soon go through the roof.

Imagine being in the shoes of the customer-service reps. If it's not possible to envision returning to work every day as one of them, make efforts to change the company's culture and focus on employee satisfaction. The number of discontented customer calls will plummet in no time.

4. Ask for customer feedback. Set up automated customer-satisfaction surveys and initiate a quality-assurance process for listening and critiquing each customer-service call. Take this information and respond with speed (immediately, if possible) to any negative experiences. Learn from each piece of feedback and continually modify the program to make it the best it can be.

Related: 10 Stories of Unforgettable Customer Service

Tomas Gorny is co-founder and CEO of Nextiva, a provider of cloud-based, unified communications solutions, headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz. He also serves as chairman and CEO of Nextiva's parent company, Unitedweb.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Travel

Save on Business Travel with Matt's Flight's Premium, Only $80 for Life

This premium plan features customized flight deal alerts and one-on-one planning with Matt himself.

Science & Technology

Here's One Reason Urban Transportation Won't Look the Same in a Decade

Micro-EVs may very well be the future of city driving. Here's why, and how investors can get ahead of it.

Health & Wellness

Do You Want to Live to Be 100? This Researcher Has the Answer to Why Longevity is Not a Quick Fix or Trendy Diet

Ozempic, cold plunges, sobriety and the latest health fads are not what science reveals will help you live a longer and healthier life.

Data & Recovery

Better Communicate Data with Your Team for $20 with Microsoft Visio

Visio features a wide range of diagramming tools that can support projects across all industries.