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Frequent Contributor
SwampSystems
Posts: 358
Registered: ‎06-25-2012
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Re: Calling Customer Service Too Much Lowers Your Value?!?


Cdnewmanpac wrote:

First, this is/was a pretty common practice for cell providers, but is less standard in many other industries. Sprint caused a flap a few years ago when they cancelled a bunch of customers for "abusing" customer service by calling too often. It makes everyone mad, but it made business sense for sprint. The margin for most cell contracts (especially ones with expensive subsidized phones) is pretty small. Staffing a customer call center is very expensive. At a certain point, the cost of keeping you as a customer can exceed the value of your contract. Why would Sprint want to keep customers that cost them money?


That's because people really were abusing Sprint customer service. Sprint has a program called EPRP, formerly SERO, that offers employee-priced plans to general consumers. These plans are only supposed to be available to new account holders at the time the account is created, with a Sprint employee ID number and email address.

 

People called in repeatedly getting transferred all over the place until eventually they would reach the right person in retentions to change them to the SERO plan. At $30/month for an individual line with unlimited texting and data, it was a steal. Then on top of that, people were double- and even tripple-dipping on the already discounted plan with employer/corporate discounts, credit union discounts, recurring credits, unlimited incoming calls, unlimited "circles" of 3 frequently called numbers -- you name it, they got it.

 

Sprint put an end to all of this a while back by migrating from the $30/month SERO plan to a more reasonably-priced EPRP plan, and then they slowly went through their system and purged all of the additional discounts people were getting on top of that. The reason Sprint allowed it to get as bad as they did is because they were hemorrhaging customers like crazy for a few years, and the then-new CEO was trying to do anything in his power to retain them. But now that they have re-established their customer service and offerings, they no longer need to keep the customers that they're losing money on. I don't blame them.

 

Honestly, I can see credit card companies having similar policies when it comes to perks, offers, and retentions. There has already been talk of GE Capital closing accounts for bothering the underwriters too often, and we are all too familiar with Amex financial reviews. We have also seen the person who had Chase close all of his business/personal credit accounts at once just because they felt like it. Adverse actions due to bugging customer service too much probably happen more often than you think.

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Jlu
Posts: 582
Registered: ‎06-12-2012
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Re: Calling Customer Service Too Much Lowers Your Value?!?


navigatethis12 wrote:

Just how often do you need to ring customer service anyway? Any business will evaulate if the customer is costing them money and if they are they will not want to do business with them anymore. Shipping companies charge you more if you go to the shipping center instead of buying postage online.

 

 


Jlu wrote:


They can go to hell. If I require assistance I am going to call as many times as I want. If I have time to call you, the company, you damn sure better have the time to talk to me, the paying consumer. This is why I'm willing to pay AF's for a CC with a high level of customer service and attention.


They never said they will not talk to you, they will just not be as willing to give a huge discount if you threaten to leave. Personally, I do not ring customer service to often at all. The only time I will is for a credit limit increase or to file a dispute for something. When I had a contract with AT&T (6 years), I only rang in maybe 6 times. A lot of those times were for warranty issues because the telephones kept dying. I have had the GoPhone for about a year and have not rang them once.

 

If someone constantly emailed me about a product I had sold them I may get irritated. If it is a technical problem and they want an exchange fine, but if it is something that they should not even be contacting me about, I would be hesitant to sell to them again. What is the point in keeping a customer if you lose money on them?

 

Of course everyone is different and if you really need to ring customer service fairly often, that is your choice.


 

Don't take me the wrong way - I'm not giving sympathy to those who abuse CS call centers.

 

I'm saying that if I need legitimate assistance I am certainly not going to give a second thought or feel guilty like OP.

 

One of the only reasons I recently got a CC with a $95 AF is because the number on the back of my card goes directly to an executive office (no touch tone or speak your selection BS) where an english-speaking American picks up and cares only about how they can help me.

 

Don't know about you but I prefer to spend my money where I get the feeling they want my business.

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LS2982
Posts: 15,434
Registered: ‎04-09-2011
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Re: Calling Customer Service Too Much Lowers Your Value?!?


Jlu wrote:

navigatethis12 wrote:

Just how often do you need to ring customer service anyway? Any business will evaulate if the customer is costing them money and if they are they will not want to do business with them anymore. Shipping companies charge you more if you go to the shipping center instead of buying postage online.

 

 


Jlu wrote:


They can go to hell. If I require assistance I am going to call as many times as I want. If I have time to call you, the company, you damn sure better have the time to talk to me, the paying consumer. This is why I'm willing to pay AF's for a CC with a high level of customer service and attention.


They never said they will not talk to you, they will just not be as willing to give a huge discount if you threaten to leave. Personally, I do not ring customer service to often at all. The only time I will is for a credit limit increase or to file a dispute for something. When I had a contract with AT&T (6 years), I only rang in maybe 6 times. A lot of those times were for warranty issues because the telephones kept dying. I have had the GoPhone for about a year and have not rang them once.

 

If someone constantly emailed me about a product I had sold them I may get irritated. If it is a technical problem and they want an exchange fine, but if it is something that they should not even be contacting me about, I would be hesitant to sell to them again. What is the point in keeping a customer if you lose money on them?

 

Of course everyone is different and if you really need to ring customer service fairly often, that is your choice.


 

Don't take me the wrong way - I'm not giving sympathy to those who abuse CS call centers.

 

I'm saying that if I need legitimate assistance I am certainly not going to give a second thought or feel guilty like OP.

 

One of the only reasons I recently got a CC with a $95 AF is because the number on the back of my card goes directly to an executive office (no touch tone or speak your selection BS) where an english-speaking American picks up and cares only about how they can help me.

 

Don't know about you but I prefer to spend my money where I get the feeling they want my business.


Me too, Cap1 almost lost my business because of the lack of CLI. Their Executive office kept me :smileyhappy:

 




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Jlu
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Re: Calling Customer Service Too Much Lowers Your Value?!?

[ Edited ]

^ Exactly.

 

Discover is a perfect example. Their cards aren't the best in terms of rewards and they aren't accepted everwhere but they have been growing by leaps and bounds. One thing stands out - when you call 800-DISCOVER you get Jack from Utah, not Deneequatom from god-knows-where. It's also why I've been a Discover shareholder since 2009. They do a good job at pretending they care about their customers - I'd be naive to think they care about anything other than making money - but at least they TRY to make me feel like a valued customer.

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navigatethis12
Posts: 1,930
Registered: ‎01-24-2012
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Re: Calling Customer Service Too Much Lowers Your Value?!?


Jlu wrote:


 

Don't take me the wrong way - I'm not giving sympathy to those who abuse CS call centers.

 

I'm saying that if I need legitimate assistance I am certainly not going to give a second thought or feel guilty like OP.

 

One of the only reasons I recently got a CC with a $95 AF is because the number on the back of my card goes directly to an executive office (no touch tone or speak your selection BS) where an english-speaking American picks up and cares only about how they can help me.

 

Don't know about you but I prefer to spend my money where I get the feeling they want my business.


 

I believe if you ring in for a real reason they will be less likely to not like you. Most places do put a short summary of the telephone call in the notes when they mark that you rang. I prefer things to be as automated as possible. I really do not like having to talk to someone when a computer could have done it just as easily.

 


 


LS2982 wrote:


Me too, Cap1 almost lost my business because of the lack of CLI. Their Executive office kept me :smileyhappy:

 



 I felt weird talking to Chase's executive office. I am unsure why, but I just did not feel like my problem (application reconsideration) warranted needing them. I have not used them since and probably will not again.

 

I also do not care if the person on the telephone is countries away, as long as they get what I am asking finished. In a lot of instances, the foreigners are more accomdating and willing to listen.

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XxRaVeNxX
Posts: 201
Registered: ‎08-19-2012
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Re: Calling Customer Service Too Much Lowers Your Value?!?


navigatethis12 wrote:

 

I also do not care if the person on the telephone is countries away, as long as they get what I am asking finished. In a lot of instances, the foreigners are more accomdating and willing to listen.



+1 The only thing is, I've ran into more scripted responses when the phone calls are overseas. I'll ask a question, and their response has nothing to do with what I asked...

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Revelate
Posts: 8,956
Registered: ‎12-30-2011
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Re: Calling Customer Service Too Much Lowers Your Value?!?

[ Edited ]

I worked in a number of customer service and other customer-facing organizations, including in management positions.  I'm going to take a semi-devil's advocate position on this and focus on the business case for a company doing this.

 

Customer service costs money to an organization.  One can argue that if we're paying a AF that it should cover such things, but when it comes down to the bottom line, the people who call more often, are less proftiable than ones who call less (all other things being equal, transaction volume and aggregate spend for the sake of the discussion on a credit card forum).  Customer service resources are not infinite, taking up a larger slice of the pie, costs the organization more than some customer who's taking whatever the average, or expected, amount is.  Similarly someone who rarely if ever calls, is likely more proftiable than the theoretical average customer too.

 

I've been in places where we had one client as 50% of our revenue, but 80% of our total expenses.  Should've kicked them to the curb: it would've slashed our revenue in half, but our earnings ratio would've gone way up and that's not even including the fact we would've been better focused on the rest of our customers too.

 

In any situation if you're losing money (or even not as profitable with) on a customer, it's in one's business interests to encourage them to be a customer somewhere else.  When it comes to credit cards where lenders live or die in the margins, I don't see it as being unreasonable to incorporate number of CS calls into some sort of internal customer retention algorithm.  I know it's an unpopular opinion, but it's just a sound business decision.  

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Wolf3
Posts: 3,198
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Re: Calling Customer Service Too Much Lowers Your Value?!?

I think it is clear that CC companies have retention algorithms.    Some people get perks and offers when they call to cancel, others don't, for example.

 

My guess is that customer service calls is a small part of it.   I think credit risk, amount of charges per month, payment frequency, interest paid are all more heavily weighted than amount of customer service calls.   And probably a few calls don't matter.

 

 

 

.

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MarcinXP
Posts: 304
Registered: ‎09-06-2011
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Re: Calling Customer Service Too Much Lowers Your Value?!?

I manage a very large call center for one of the biggest telecommunication companies in US. I can tell you we use algorithims like that not just for consumers but also for internal purposes and it's not about how many times you call, but about why you are calling.

 

If you are calling because your promotion expires and you want another one and then that one expires and you want another one then maybe it's time to let you go. Promotions are only for those who want to join my company and then after certain time 6 or 12 months decide whether they want to keep services at full retail. not all promotions are made equal, howeve if you are paying $39.99 on a package that costs my company $60+ bucks a month for 6 months and then threaten to leave if we don't give you another one..you might get away with it once..but after a while the algorithm might come back that you actually cost the company money and its not worth keeping your business..don't get offended...I mean we all want lower prices, but at that point it does not make practical sense...our job is to maybe offer you more services at discount, but not same services for lower....at what point will you pay full retail??? EVER???

 

The other reasons people call like technical issues...there is an algoritm for that as well. but that one says..how often you call, is it for same issue, was it resolved, if not why not, who did or did not do their job, is it just this customer or once around them as well and that one is internal designed to keep people accountable.

 

My only advice is that while we have algorithms for all of this, do not understimate the power of a CSR. Some are clueless and even their sups as well..trust me...but some are really, really good. You get the right one on a right day, build rapport and make small connection and no matter what algorithm is in place you can get what you want...you yell and scream and go off thinking you are entitled to whatever and CSR will shut down and quote policy because they know if you escalate...either a) their supervisor will back them up or b) if CSR gets in trouble they can always point to a policy or what the computer said to do.

 

I get reports sometimes and talk with my leadership team about why so and so on credited this account this much or put this promotion if customer already was on one and so on and all I get back is...well I coached with them and they said customer was really nice and they felt bad and they just made a decision....I hear that about 99%....very rarely I hear "Customer yelled at them and initimidated them and they just gave in"...nope usually it's opposite...they shut down and even if customer was making sense by then because they were verbally abused they just quoted policy like a broken record...YMMV with each rep.

 

And to above poster...NO CUSTOMER IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT..LOL.....sorry but with all of the meetings and calls reviewed it seems like our population is changing. Customers these days call in demanding and frankly expecting like company should bend over backwards for everything and they are not willing to pay anything for it and want everything for lowest price and they will yell and scream and threaten to leave...even though they won't. I personally made a decision to disconnect 4 customers just last month based on their behavior on the call and called them to inform them that we will no longer be serving. One of the customers I had security pay them a visit. Before you judge me..LOL..I can tell you that I'm very sympathetic and talk with a lot of customers when most of my peers in other centers look at me and say..that's why we have managers, supervisors and agents...let them deal with it...I don't mind talking with customers and at times I agree with them and sometimes we have a good laugh about why the company does this or that and build rapport...i had cards sent to my office....but if you don't pay your bill, call in bully an agent and yell at them about billing error although there is no error, billing is correct you just did not pay the bill and they try their best to explain that and all of a sudden you get racial words thrown at you and saying I hope you and your children get raped....you need to go to another provider since we choose not to ever service you again...some customers are apologetic afterwards (Sometimes I hang up and shake my head cause they guy I just spoke to was the nicest ever, yet he did all of the cursing and yelling over the phone hour ago....seems like he beats his wife and then delivers flowers next morning)

 

Anyway...got too far carried away...main points are...

 

There are algorithms for internal and external reasons

depending on you and CSR they can be avoided

Customer is not always right.

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LS2982
Posts: 15,434
Registered: ‎04-09-2011
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Re: Calling Customer Service Too Much Lowers Your Value?!?


MarcinXP wrote:

I manage a very large call center for one of the biggest telecommunication companies in US. I can tell you we use algorithims like that not just for consumers but also for internal purposes and it's not about how many times you call, but about why you are calling.

 

If you are calling because your promotion expires and you want another one and then that one expires and you want another one then maybe it's time to let you go. Promotions are only for those who want to join my company and then after certain time 6 or 12 months decide whether they want to keep services at full retail. not all promotions are made equal, howeve if you are paying $39.99 on a package that costs my company $60+ bucks a month for 6 months and then threaten to leave if we don't give you another one..you might get away with it once..but after a while the algorithm might come back that you actually cost the company money and its not worth keeping your business..don't get offended...I mean we all want lower prices, but at that point it does not make practical sense...our job is to maybe offer you more services at discount, but not same services for lower....at what point will you pay full retail??? EVER???

 

The other reasons people call like technical issues...there is an algoritm for that as well. but that one says..how often you call, is it for same issue, was it resolved, if not why not, who did or did not do their job, is it just this customer or once around them as well and that one is internal designed to keep people accountable.

 

My only advice is that while we have algorithms for all of this, do not understimate the power of a CSR. Some are clueless and even their sups as well..trust me...but some are really, really good. You get the right one on a right day, build rapport and make small connection and no matter what algorithm is in place you can get what you want...you yell and scream and go off thinking you are entitled to whatever and CSR will shut down and quote policy because they know if you escalate...either a) their supervisor will back them up or b) if CSR gets in trouble they can always point to a policy or what the computer said to do.

 

I get reports sometimes and talk with my leadership team about why so and so on credited this account this much or put this promotion if customer already was on one and so on and all I get back is...well I coached with them and they said customer was really nice and they felt bad and they just made a decision....I hear that about 99%....very rarely I hear "Customer yelled at them and initimidated them and they just gave in"...nope usually it's opposite...they shut down and even if customer was making sense by then because they were verbally abused they just quoted policy like a broken record...YMMV with each rep.

 

And to above poster...NO CUSTOMER IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT..LOL.....sorry but with all of the meetings and calls reviewed it seems like our population is changing. Customers these days call in demanding and frankly expecting like company should bend over backwards for everything and they are not willing to pay anything for it and want everything for lowest price and they will yell and scream and threaten to leave...even though they won't. I personally made a decision to disconnect 4 customers just last month based on their behavior on the call and called them to inform them that we will no longer be serving. One of the customers I had security pay them a visit. Before you judge me..LOL..I can tell you that I'm very sympathetic and talk with a lot of customers when most of my peers in other centers look at me and say..that's why we have managers, supervisors and agents...let them deal with it...I don't mind talking with customers and at times I agree with them and sometimes we have a good laugh about why the company does this or that and build rapport...i had cards sent to my office....but if you don't pay your bill, call in bully an agent and yell at them about billing error although there is no error, billing is correct you just did not pay the bill and they try their best to explain that and all of a sudden you get racial words thrown at you and saying I hope you and your children get raped....you need to go to another provider since we choose not to ever service you again...some customers are apologetic afterwards (Sometimes I hang up and shake my head cause they guy I just spoke to was the nicest ever, yet he did all of the cursing and yelling over the phone hour ago....seems like he beats his wife and then delivers flowers next morning)

 

Anyway...got too far carried away...main points are...

 

There are algorithms for internal and external reasons

depending on you and CSR they can be avoided

Customer is not always right.


Yes, they are!! :smileyvery-happy:

 

Customers ensure you have a job. I hate dealing with people sometimes but you always have to keep in the back of your head they're keeping my paycheck coming.

 




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