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Why is it that Customer Service Directors, or Customer Service Managers, can’t be contacted by customers?

Isn’t their job to be the link between a Company and its customers? Aren’t they the people who are ‘passionate’ about customer service? Isn’t that their raison d’être?

George Smiley with all his brilliance had less trouble hunting down a mole in the Circus, than most customers have hunting down Customer Service Directors in big companies.

Twenty years ago, it was possible to pick up the phone and actually get through to a Customer Service Director. I know that for a fact. I did it on a regular basis. Now Customer Service Directors – even Customer Service Managers – are just too important to talk to customers.

They’re busy managing the thousands of Customer Service Advisors they hide behind.

The trouble is front line Advisors operate within strict guidelines and have very little power to keep customers satisfied, most of whom try to get to a decision-maker in the hope of a more favourable response to whatever’s bothering them.

And if one a disgruntled customer should get to the guy at the top, it’s jackpot time. Customers know that if you’re talking to someone who’s used to dealing with £millions, £50 compensation is nothing more than small change found on the side of the road.

It’s been a game of hide and seek over the past twenty years and front-line staff have found very creative ways of reducing the stress of having to keep customers from getting to their senior colleagues.

In one Company, Advisors all called themselves Manager, and simply switched phones between themselves whenever a customer wanted to escalate the conversation. In another, they took turns to be the Manager on different days of the week.

So guess what. You won.

Customers have given up trying to get hold of you – but they’re sore losers and they’re taking revenge: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, that’s where it’s at.

Game on!

Dr Valerie Bram is a Director at T2 – valeriebram@t2linguistics.com

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