Shep Hyken's Customer Service Blog

Why Must I Repeat Myself Again and Again?

Repeat Your Account NumberCustomer Support

Have you ever called a company’s phone support number, talk to their customer service rep, have that rep transfer you to another person, only to have to repeat the story all over again? It gets even worse when you get transferred or call back a third or fourth time.

How about when you dial the company’s support number and the automated prompt asks you to put in your customer number. Then the customer support rep comes on and the first thing he or she asks you is, “What’s your customer number?”

One question came to mind… Why?

Why did she ask for my account or customer number? I just entered it into their system before I was transferred to her. This is a waste of valuable time for both the customer and the company.

Just yesterday I called Headsets.com. They are the company that sells, you guessed it, telephone headsets. I had an issue with a headset they had sold me. I Googled the company name, clicked on the link to their website, immediately spotted the phone number, dialed it and within a few rings and a very short wait, I was on the phone with a customer support representative. She told me that from the phone number she has on her caller ID, she could see that I was from Shepard Presentations in St. Louis, MO and she had my account up on her screen. She asked who she was speaking to. I told her, and she immediately went to work on solving my problem. It couldn’t have been easier and a more efficient use of both of our time.

What she didn’t do was ask was for my customer number, my social security number, the name of my first born child and my grandmother’s maiden name.

So maybe the people at Headsets.com aren’t dealing with sensitive information like a bank or insurance company, but the point is once you have given any information to a customer support rep, you shouldn’t have to repeat it again.

There are plenty of great customer relationship management programs that give customer service reps the ability to log in a problem, question, complaint, comment, etc. so that the next person doesn’t have to ask the customer to repeat the story. There are also programs that have security features to protect against fraud. Some programs use voice print technology to match the customer’s voice to their account.

It’s inconvenient for the customer to have to repeat their story, and it only makes him more frustrated, if not angry. And as mentioned, it is a waste time for the support representative to have to listen to a story that’s already been told. If time is money, and it is, then that wasted time over a number of calls, can add up to a big number.

So stop wasting both your and your customer’s time. It will save you money and give your customer a better experience. That’s a winning combination!

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

(Copyright © MMXVI, Shep Hyken)

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  1. https://vimeo.com/178371365 – Virtual Hold Technology, innovators of virtual queuing and callback offers premise and cloud solutions to eliminate repeating customer information. Voice, omni-channel and cross-channel solutions. Organizations that have implemented VHT report feedback of 4+stars including financial, insurance, utilities, retail and organizations where customer engagement is key to business outcomes.

  2. i disagree there a high possibility that they ask youbto repeat things such as customer numbers etc to make sure you didnt key it in wrong on the automated part of the call. if ur thorough the first time with your client it will save any future stuff ups. clearly most places wont ask u to repeat yourself if they didnt have their reasons. people are just very impatient these days.

  3. As a former rep in an inbound calling center i can tell you there are too many times the information entered is incorrect. Many times customers are cold transferred, meaning no one waited for the second representative to answer so they could be given the information you already gave. That is the problem with call centers, many times before the representative can start helping you he or she must authenticate the account. Remember they now have to deal with social engineering, some reps to save time don’t even enter notes when they are transferring a customer. I know, it is frustrating and I know companies have policies and work hard to make the consumers experience less exasperating but it only works if every cog does what it is supposed to do.
    Many customers don’t like automated response systems and will just press “0” to get a representative. That will often result in unnecessary frustration and it is highly likely they will get to billing when they really need tech support. Good results will come if we listen to the prompts fully before making our suggestions. One pet peeve I have is when advertisements are put into the IVR before you are given prompts. That to me is an unacceptable waste of time.
    Imagine when companies start using fully automated customer service assistants.

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