Testing Your Customer Experience

WRITTEN July 9, 2015 Author: Rich Atkins

Customer Service FAILure occurs because representatives may not be well trained, and management may not be aware of the problem. These FAILure scenarios (described below) could have been avoided by having management test the Customer Service experience. That’s when real change will take place.

These examples of bad practices will send clients to other providers:


PROMPT: “Hello, and thank you for calling the Monolithic Corporation. Please listen carefully, as our menu options have recently changed.”

(I listen carefully. The menu options haven’t changed. In fact, they’ve been the same for the past couple of years – every time I call.)

PROMPT: “In order to serve you better, please enter your account (or other identification) number now.”

(I enter my account number.)

PROMPT: Please hold, while we transfer your call.

AGENT: “Hello, this is Josh. May I have your account (or other identification) number, please?”

CALLER: I already entered it.

AGENT: Oh, well it didn’t come through.

CALLER: Then why did I enter it?!”


CALLER: “Is so-and-so there?”

EMPLOYEE: “She’s not available right now. Can you call back in 15 minutes?”

CALLER: “No. You can take a message and have her call me.”

EMPLOYEE: “Oh she’s really busy, and I can’t guarantee that she’ll call back.”

CALLER: “So it’s company policy not to return phone calls? Look, I’m calling this number once. She’s not available. That doesn’t place the burden on me to call again. You make sure that she calls me!”

Testing your Customer Experience

It is never acceptable to say “not available, call back.”


CSR: The equipment you have is outdated. You’ll need to get a new converter to continue using our service. That will be an additional $6 per month.

CALLER: Oh, so your rates have gone up?

CSR: No. Not at all. Our rates have stayed the same. It’s just an additional $6 per month for the converter, so that you can continue watching our programming.

CALLER: Oh, so your rates have gone up?

CSR: No. Not at all …

And so it went, ad infinitum.


Customer Service Phone Call Hall of Shame


  • Phone menus with no “speak with a human” option.
  • Phone menus that take forever to navigate to the correct service area, only to hear “You’ve reached the XYZ Department after hours. Please call back when we’re open. Good bye” and the line goes dead.
  • Phone call transfers that turn into disconnects, without any pre-emptive personal responsibility (“May I have a call-back number, in case we get disconnected? OR “If we get disconnected my extension is xxxx.”).
Customer Service professionals often don’t have the power to change the phone menu system (and many other negatives that customers may encounter). Management must test the customer experience to determine what needs to be changed. When they do, these horrible FAILs and situations of customer alienation will be discovered, corrected, and avoided.

This information is from our Customer Service curriculum. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.

Photo Credit: PhotoAtelier

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