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54% of managers have said that improving the Customer Experience is a major priority in their call centre, according to the Tomorrow’s Contact Centre survey report. The survey of 175 call centre managers, published by Cisco and Call Centre Helper.

Below is a sample of customer experience which at this point in the journey the customer is using email.

A couple of things to keep in mind about email:

  • People don’t expect instant response, there’s more tolerance for time lag.
  • Often a very detailed account of incident is described with attachments so there’s a low tolerance for error.
  • People often don’t know if their email was read

TIP: Ensure your auto response email is working and appropriate. This should confirm that the email was received and set expectations of when the person will receive a response.

In considering this topic I thought of a customer experience I had, one which I will find hard to forget! This complaint email is an example of how a customer highlights the poor customer experience and seeks a solution.

From: Emma Example [mailto:" border="5"EmmaExample@gmail.com]
Sent: 16 May 2014 15:40
To: Support in Sample Telecoms Company
Subject: Incorrectly Overcharged TwiceHi,I’m emailing to complain about being overcharged twice. I previously called your contact centre but waited on the line for 5 minutes so I abandoned the call. I read your FAQs and I still cannot find what I’m looking for.I have been overcharged again for broadband package, despite my flagging of the technical fault with my modem. Last month I noticed I have been charged more than triple my usual bill, I was really annoyed because my contract is set up so that I only get charged a set amount which allows me 10GB of data. I cannot exceed the limit as it is set up so that it won’t work when the cut-off point is reached.When I was connecting to wifi in college the data used there was clocking up on the modem usage, even though it wasn’t plugged in.  I didn’t change any settings. I visited one of your shops to explain my problem and for them to have a look at my settings as I couldn’t get any good from your customer service team over the phone. They were baffled and said “that shouldn’t be happening, I’m not sure why that’s happening” and waived the overcharged amount and said I would be credited this month so therefore nothing should be coming out of my account. They said they would look into it but I never heard anything back.Now I have looked at my account and I have been charged triple again. I have attached my statements and a record of the conversation with the sales assistant in your store.I require refunding of the two overcharged amounts and replacement modem or else exact instructions on the set up of the modem on my laptop so that it isn’t logging data used when connected to wifi or other internet sources.

I look forward to getting a resolution.

Kind regards,


Emma has already tried a myriad of different channels which didn’t deliver satisfying results, she’s now looking for interactions she can track directly.

She hasn’t left out any details, has stated exactly what she wants and expects. Her tone is not exasperated but could escalate to that if the interaction is mishandled. Below are two examples of responses that could be given, one is an exemplary response and the other is not so attractive.


Inadequate response

None at all or

From: John Example [mailto:JohnExample@SampleTelecomsCompany.com]
Sent: 15 May 2014 16:33
To: Emma Example
Subject: RE: Incorrectly Overcharged TwiceHi Emma,Thanks for emailing us today, we respond to all queries within 2 working days.I’m not sure why that has happened because it shouldn’t have, there’s probably something wrong with the settings. Can you give me more detail on it and I will try to resolve the issue.Your data usage was x over your limit and as we charge x per extra gigabyte you’re bill is much higher than usual. I’m afraid our refund policy is to reimburse with credit on an account, we don’t give direct refunds. We can only waive fees on an account once so we can’t deduct the difference in the second month.By the way we have a new broadband package, check it out today using the code SU233 and get a bonus discount.Kind regards,



It’s ALL wrong and here’s why…

  1. Starts with a scripted opening sentence that sounds robotic.
  2. States the obvious, then speculates.
  3. Doesn’t make a specific request for what exact information he needs (Emma probably feels as if she has given plenty of information as there are attachments).
  4. Doesn’t outline how he will solve the problems.
  5. Misses the whole issue of being overcharged due to a technical fault.
  6. Doesn’t resolve problem or give indication that he will.
  7. Tells the customer their demands are impossible
  8. Blatant sales message at the end which is inappropriate.


Outstanding response:

From: Marie Example [mailto:MarieExample@SampleTelecomsCompany.com]
Sent: 16 May 2014 09:48
To: Emma Example
Subject: RE: Incorrectly Overcharged TwiceHi Emma,My name is Marie and I just want to start by apologising for the inconvenience caused. I’m really disappointed that we’ve let you down through our channels and I’ve flagged your correspondence to my supervisor to investigate why this has happened. I will do my very best to resolve your issue as quickly as possible.I have sent your email to our technical team to see if they know why and how the technical fault has occurred and whether it can be fixed. Would it be possible for you to send a screenshot of what the data logging looks like when you are connected to wifi? This may help the technical team resolve the issue faster.As you probably know our refund policy is to issue credit notes but as the two amounts were significant I could ask my manager to give you a refund today. If you would prefer this please send me on your mobile number and my manager can take your details across the phone.If the technical team come back in agreement that a new modem should be sent out can I confirm that your address is still: xxxIf we send out a new modem we would appreciate if you could return your other malfunctioning modem, I will send you a stamped and addressed envelope to send it back in. As way of compensation I would like to offer you a month’s free subscription.

Is there anything else I can do for you Emma? I look forward to receiving the requested information so we can deal with this as quickly as possible and thanks for your patience.

Kind regards,



Realistically – who could argue with this response? Especially if it was received within one working day. Below are the reasons why we award this response with top marks, even giving kudos points.

  1. Being human.
  2. Apologising.
  3. Admitting they have a problem.
  4. Letting customer know they are being taking it seriously.
  5. Promising to do your best.
  6. Informing the customer of all the steps they are taking.
  7. Requesting necessary additional information.
  8. Bending policy because of the specific complaint.
  9. Planning ahead so there is no waiting around.
  10. Making a reasonable request on customer effort and assisting.
  11. Offering reasonable compensation.
  12. Asking if there’s anything else.
  13. Thanking the customer for their patience.
  14. Overall reassurance that the problem will be fixed and they genuinely care about your custom.


The Different Outcomes

Customer experience is based on the overall service from start to finish and is focused on how customers were treated and how they feel. From this interaction, like most customer complaints, the customer already has had a negative experience. By complaining the company has an opportunity to redeem themselves, but when an organisation fails to grab this chance the impacts can be deeper than if the customer never complained at all.

From the two responses above there would be very different impacts on Emma, from Marie’s response Emma would feel;

  • Confident her problem would be resolved.
  • Relieved that someone in the organisation understands her plight and is proactive is trying to solve it.
  • Happy to stay with the provider and is likely to have a positive sentiment towards them in the future.
  • Feel as if Marie went above and beyond for her and that she deserves the VIP treatment.


There would be a stark difference if Emma received John’s response, or worse, no response. She would feel;

  • Very annoyed because she feels like John didn’t take the time to read her email properly and he isn’t showing any empathy.
  • Doesn’t feel like her problem will be resolved at all.
  • Fear that next month she will be overcharged again.
  • More frustrated because she realises she won’t get reimbursed if she will be cancelling your account out of fear of future overcharging.
  • Annoyed because now she needs to take time out of her schedule to find a new internet provider.
  • Badmouths the company any chance she gets.
  • Vows never to do business with them again regardless of what offers they have.
  • Doesn’t even want to respond.
  • Resents how they tricked her out of hard earned money because as far she's concerned it wasn’t her fault… at all!
  • Feels that if she responds any further it will only aggravate her more and achieve nothing.

Of course a customer might come back and fight tooth and nail, or they might hit print screen and share on any number of social networks or online forums.  Richard Snow of Vertana Research summed up the effect of poor customer experience well last week;

Most of us are not inclined to proclaim how happy we feel about a successful experience – it is what we expect. We are more likely to express our feelings if something goes wrong, and to do so more intensely each time the company fails to fix the problem or makes it hard to engage.

Tags: Call Center Training, Customer Experience & Service