Posted by: drmiw | September 16, 2014

Too much customer service and not enough internal communication!

I’m getting solar panels installed on my property during the next couple of days and after initially being impressed by the frequent communications from my supplier I’m now getting fed up with the volume of phone calls and, more importantly, the fact that I now seem to have become a means by which different agents in my supplier’s office update each other!

Firstly, a couple of weeks ago, after agreeing to the installation and paying a deposit, I was asked on the telephone to send an email to the customer service agent (agent 1 I’ll call her, for the purposes of this paragraph) saying that I was happy to have the delivery and installation of the solar panels at the same time. I understood the reasons for this request and was happy to comply by emailing agent 1 the necessary statement immediately. Then about 8 days later I was phoned by another person (agent 2) who had the same request – I explained that I had already sent the email to her colleague, and, on talking to agent 1 who had located my unopened email in her inbox, she apologised. I thought nothing of it until I was phoned by yet another person (agent 3) today, 4 days further on, asking me to send an email with the same content! I explained again that I’d already sent the email to agent 1 but was happy to forward it to her, which I did minutes later.

Agent 3 also apologised for the fact that I had not received a confirmation email regarding the installation date. Apparently there was a mix-up with someone else’s email address, which is a common occurrence for me and my very common name so I didn’t mind.

Anyway, today we had the scaffolding set up against the wall of our property, and it looks very nice and sturdy, I must say. But after being informed by one customer service agent (agent 1 I’ll call her in this paragraph, although it was actually agent 3 from the last paragraph!) by telephone that the solar panel installation itself could be brought forward to this afternoon, I then received another call (agent 2) to inform me that I should expect to get the scaffolding installed today, not tomorrow, and I had to inform her that the scaffolding was already in place and that the solar panel installation was being brought forward to this afternoon. Agent 2 seemed quite surprised by this development but while I was on the phone she confirmed it with agent 1 who was sitting next to her! Then, just as I thought it was safe to go to the bathroom I received a call from yet another lady (agent 3) who apologised for not getting back to me earlier and was calling to let me know about the installation and scaffolding etc. She had no idea about any of her colleagues’ earlier interactions with me, but I quickly brought her up to speed before suggesting that they should communicate with each other a bit better in the office!

I’m now very tempted to contact my solar panel supplier and offer them my CRM consultancy services. They could start with my SFB Guide to Selecting a CRM, which I wrote for Serco.

Now I’m waiting for the solar panel installers to arrive and get started on the installation. I just hope that the solar panels and the invertor communicate better than their human counterparts and that we can start generating our own energy at last!

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