Coordination: A Lost Art

We all have lots of channels and methods of communicating with our customers.  Usually, they only have to be consistently on message.  There are instances when it helps to have your communication channels completely aligned, not only on message, but tightly integrated from an operational point of view.

That’s when you’re doing outbound calling.  Here’s an example of a SiriusXM satellite failure melt-down that happened to me last evening.

I received my second call of the day from an unfamiliar 866 number which did not leave a message earlier.  Thinking it was something important, I broke into a family status call to pick it up.  Apparently, my SiriusXM subscription for my car expired on July 17th and when SiriusXM tried to bill me, the credit card on file did not authorize the charge because it had been reissued under a different number by the bank.

That was flag #1.  Last year, I went on SiriusXM’s self-serve customer portal and explicitly selected the option to receive a paper bill, as I greatly preferred paying they cancel/save price of ~$79 per year instead of the rack rate of $179 per year.

Problem #2.  When the telemarketer got me on the phone, he identified himself as being from SiriusXM, indicated that the billing had failed and that he wanted to update my records (look–if you want my new credit card number, just say it) and could he record my call.  All in <10 seconds. Wow and no, you can’t record my call.

I let him know I wanted to receive paper bills only and could he fix that.  Nope. I needed to tell somebody at SiriusXM that myself.  Well, I was.  Apparently his CRM system didn’t allow him to do that, the guys that could were in another department (in India) and he’d never heard of email.

Problem #3. He said he’d warm transfer me over to the billing department who could get me a paper bill.  “They’ll have my info so I don’t have to repeat myself, right?”  “Yes, sir.”  You guessed it.  I’m dumped into the TOP of the general billing queue and the nice young lady in India had no idea why I was there.  Anyway, she puts me on a paper bill, no problem.  Then, at my request, she transfers me over to the cancel department.

The cancel guy was actually quite good and a series of reasonable offers.  But I wasn’t ready to commit to a half price deal, even for six months.  When he asked why, I said “Well, I’ve got this Pandora thing now and maybe I don’t need SiriusXM any more.”  BOOM,  three months of free service to reconsider.

So what’s going on here at SiriusXM?

  1. Customer self-serve system either doesn’t correctly save my billing preferences or they just ignored my request and tried to bill my credit card anyway.  Both are completely unacceptable and the second is immoral at best.
  2. The billing method recapture TM process is completely disjointed from the billing and saves queues.
  3. The customer care people at SiriusXM aren’t empowered to fix my problems (the first gentleman could have set up my paper bill).
  4. SiriusXM is leaving money on the table because of the disjointed customer service.
Takeaway: Before you talk to a customer, think about the reasonably-likely outcomes and be prepped for solving the problem on the spot. When renewing SiriusXM, one of the magic words they are fearful of is “Pandora.”
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