An Epic Customer Service #Fail – And its Solution

Customer waits on-hold for 8 hours

When a Toronto man phoned an online electronics retailer for help with his order, he had no idea that the call would become a hyperbolic jump into the customer service looking glass.

Due to an extraordinary glitch in the company’s system (which still remains a mystery), this customer ended up waiting on hold for eight hours. Seeing his misfortune as an opportunity, he hilariously live-tweeted his experience, telling the world about all the activities he successfully completed while on hold. His epic customer service nightmare has been recreated in the following video:

The company righted the situation by apologizing profusely and sending the customer his order free of charge. The debacle occurred during the Christmas season, when online retailers typically experience an onslaught of consumer inquiries.

How can long wait-times be eradicated from customer experiences? More staffing, seems like a common-sense solution. However, recruiting and retaining personnel constitutes the number one challenge faced by call centers.

What if customers didn’t have to wait on hold? Digital customer service eliminates the need for waiting. Customers simply send in a message (via SMS, messengers, or social media) and continue with their lives.

Not only does messaging solve the “on-hold” problem, but it also eliminates the need for increased staffing. The beauty about messaging is that it’s asynchronous (unlike phone), and contact center reps can reply according to their availability, maintaining a constant level of activity throughout their shift (thereby maximizing their occupancy rates).

Experiencing unusually high volumes of messages does not present the same critical situation as experiencing an unusually high volume of calls. With messaging, reps can respond to consumer inquiries at a later time (best practices suggest a maximum wait-time of 60 minutes between messages), while still ensuring a superior experience: customer service over text messaging scores a delightfully-high 90% satisfaction rate (CFI Group).

Online retailers have successfully used digital messaging to handle extraordinarily high volumes of customer inquiries. Thanks to digital messaging via SMS and social media, Newegg was able to carry out a month’s worth of inquiries in only four days – while maintaining customer happiness.

So, what if that unfortunate Torontonian could have texted customer service instead of waiting on hold for eight hours? Adding an unexpected twist to the man’s story, InTheChat imagines a better world where texting already existed as an available solution, eliminating waiting altogether. Thankfully, this utopia isn’t that far away…

Want to participate in making a better world for your customers? Contact InTheChat today for a free demo.

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About the Author: Kat Austin

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