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5 Companies With the Worst Customer Service of 2015

5 Companies With the Worst Customer Service of 2015

In this modern age, companies like Yelp and Trip Advisor have made local businesses accountable for their customer experience. Search engines like Google have started to display search results using factors such as the number of positive reviews and feedback. However in 2015, monopolistic corporations are still getting away with treating their customers poorly. Here are 5 companies with some of the worst customer experience in 2015 backed by real customer horror stories and personal experiences.

1. Electronic Arts

When I started conducting polls to see which companies sported the worst customer service, Electronic Arts was one of the most mentioned companies.  While many claimed that their live chat support doesn’t answer, I personally actually was able to get speaking with someone in 5 minutes. However, I didn’t have an actual issue to diagnose so it’s hard to say if the problem would have been resolved. One customer, Deb McAlister, explained they ignored her over several forms of communications such as live chat, emails or direct messages on Twitter. Another customer, who goes by the username, The gray fox 77, stated, “why is it so difficult to get any actual help from a live body?”

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2. Teamviewer

For those who never heard of Teamviewer, Teamviewer is a remote control desktop software which allows others or yourself to remotely control a computer. This is a handy little tool, especially for hackers. After waking up one morning on October 22, I was greeted with a message that a Teamviewer session had completed, although I never gave access to anyone. My desktop background read “Your documents, photos, databases and other important files have been encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key, generated for this computer. Private decryption key is stored on a secret Internet server and nobody can decrypt your files until you pay and obtain the private key.” I had fallen victim to ransomware. All of my files were locked until I paid the $450 ransom, that’s if they decide to unlock my files after or if they ask for more money.

The first thing I wanted to do was get ahold of Teamviewer to get information on who connected. I sent them an email on October 24th, and then 2 messages on Facebook reminding them that I needed a response to my ticket ASAP. After contacting their press department explaining several times how bad this makes their company look, they finally responded on November 3rd requesting me to send log files. My first question is, why don’t they have log files on their end so a hacker just can’t delete the log files? On November 6th, I received a response explaining 2 IP addresses with the times of the connections. In the end, the IPs led to nowhere and I was left with nothing but a bad customer experience.

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3. Comcast

It’s a typical story, you have a problem with your Comcast internet or cable, you give them a call and they schedule a technician to stop by sometime between the hours of dawn and dusk and you pretty much have to write off your day to have someone to stick around to see if they show. The Comcast Xfinity forums are full of complaints of overcharges and completely ignoring vacation requests where services are supposed to be put on hold and charged a lower rate until the user is back from vacation. There are even cases where Comcast has blocked customer’s fax numbers to prohibit them from sending in legal documents proving their overcharges. Lastly, it has also been said that Comcast employees have been caught trying to bend FCC regulations.

4. Toshiba

Toshiba is one of those stocks that dropped with the markets in 2008 but never really recovered. They’ve been dying out for years, and by that, I mean losing money. The worst part about buying from Toshiba is they don’t have a customer service email. Your only option is to call, which is not always the optimal way of contacting, especially if you rather send in photos or screenshots of the issue. Not only do you have to call, but you only receive phone support if you bought the computer recently. Your free phone support does expire and at some point in time, they’ll leave you out to dry. The amount of complaints like this out there are endless. Shay from Rogers, AK said it best, “Before buying ANY electronic, I suggest you try reaching their customer service line. If they don’t have one, there’s a reason for it.”

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5. Skype

Skype was acquired by Microsoft in May 2011 and the company has been downgrading it’s user experience ever since. Take a look at the complaint in their support forums. Skype has allowed hackers to login to one user’s account, use the credit card associated with the account without verification to purchase local calling far outside of the account location, then allow the hacker to permanently change the email communications to Chinese just for the sake of prohibiting the owner of the account from understanding what exactly is going on with account purchases. As stated in the forum thread, after waiting a long time to be connected to Skype live chat, and reassuring that a higher level staff member of Skype would resolve this, Skype failed to reach out to resolve this. Even after opening a chargeback through the bank, they made no attempt to contact the customer.

While government agencies like the DMV and IRS are certainly top contenders in the list of worst customer support, the list was kept strictly to corporations. Hopefully these horror stories will make you think twice before working with these 5 companies in 2016.

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Featured photo credit: Josh MacDonald via joshmacdonald.net

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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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