Corporate Eye

Customer Service, Scripts and the Other Lucys


How many other people have the same name as you?

There are a lot of Lucy Nixons. As well as several in the UK, I know there’s an estate agent in America, as well as a Lucy who does equine Reiki treatment. In Australia there’s an illustrator and a cyclist… and there must be more.

Plenty of scope for confusion, especially since we obviously have similar email addresses. In recent weeks I have:

  • fended off multiple invitations to join TV shoots as a makeup artist (I get the shooting schedules, including which star is in which taxi and where they are going)
  • received the cyclist’s race results
  • apparently passed an interview and been signed up as a representative of a home sales beauty company
  • and I regularly get confirmation from a well-known pizza company of the food ordered by a Lucy who lives 230 miles away from me. She always has the same: she likes to create her own pizza (with lots of meat), and have it with doughnuts and cherry coke. I don’t eat meat, and prefer diet coke…

It must happen to some of you too, surely?

Mistakes happen to us all, and I don’t mind emailing the cyclist’s coach to explain that I’m several decades older than her athlete and on the wrong continent. I do understand that mistakes happen. And I do my best to sort it out – I don’t like to think that people are missing out on work, for instance, because the emails have gone to the wrong place.

But it seems that customer services from some big companies just can’t cope when someone who isn’t a customer phones up to try and rectify a mistake.

I’ve now phoned the beauty company multiple times, but their customer services teams don’t know what to do. Responses vary:

  • I’ll report it to the fraud team
  • I’ll deal with it immediately (weeks ago – no action taken)
  • I’ll put you through to my supervisor (followed by hanging up on me)
  • And the most honest of all: they tell me they can’t take any action because I’m not the account holder.

Although I know the account number and order numbers of one of the other Lucys, since I’ve received everything including her contract agreement, I’m going to fail security because my address, phone number and date of birth are never going to match hers, no matter how many times they ask. Because I’m not her, and that’s why I’m calling.

All I want them to do is to contact the Other Lucy and ask for her correct email address. They obviously have her home address and phone number, so it shouldn’t be hard…

So here’s the thing: can your processes handle a mistake of this type? Can your customer service team step away from the script and pro-actively resolve a problem? Because if not, you may find that they’re frustrating people who aren’t even their customers, and who are only trying to help.

And—the other Lucys? If you’re out there, please tell them what your real email address is.

*** update ***

Today I received an email from the beauty company to let The Other Lucy know that she owed them some money. So today’s call with their customer service went a lot better… I explained (yet again) that I wasn’t their representative and wasn’t going to pay this bill. I believe that they are now trying to contact her to ask her to change her email address.

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