“Have you tried turning off the notifications?”

Has customer service tried to fix an issue you had by getting rid of the symptoms of the issue? Was that infuriating?

Man in glasses on the phone behind screens in an office environment.

So I’m currently on live chat with Google support. I have two accounts on my android phone, a personal, and a workspace account for my own domain. No company, where I’m an employee, may touch anything on my personal devices.

The workspace account has Maps turned off. When I open Maps anyways, because I use it fairly often, the phone tries to sign in to it with both Google accounts. This triggers a sign-in request for the workspace account, which fails, because it doesn’t have access to that service.

Scouring the internet did not turn up anything useful, and any of the supposedly working solutions either do nothing (change the setting for Additional services without individual control), or straight up don’t exist (turn off sync for Maps in Settings -> Accounts -> (the Google Account) -> Account sync; Maps isn’t even on the list of apps that I can set whether it syncs or not).

So I hop on to workspace support. We chat, they understand my query, and one of their suggestions is this:

Screenshot of conversation where the customer agent asks me if I turned off notifications.
Agent – “May I know have you tried to turn off the notification from the device for Google Maps?”

Me – “I do not want to suppress the notifications. That just makes the problem invisible. I want the phone to not try to sign in, which is what triggers the notification. I want to fix the issue rather than look the other way”

Which got me thinking. Do they think that suppressing the notification and fixing the issue so the notification doesn’t happen in the first place is the same?

Is “don’t look at it” a valid solution for “I can see the house burning!”?

I get that “well, disable the pesky logs” is a quick way to “fix” an issue, because the problem is that there are logs present and there shouldn’t be, but that doesn’t fix the problem.

Do we need to reword our issue so whoever is helping us isn’t going to try to fix the symptom? How does that work with the usual customer service guidelines of:

  • describe the context
  • describe what you see / experience
  • describe what you expect to see / experience
  • describe what you tried to do

Do we need to teach our customer service agents to actually fix an issue rather than chase the number of issues closed, because technically they fixed the issue the customer came to them with?

What’s your organisation doing? What are the KPIs that your customer service agents need to hit? Are they incentivised to actually fix an issue with its root cause, or do they need to have X issues closed to hit whatever quota in a month so they don’t get fired in the next performance evaluation?

Photo by Berkeley Communications on Unsplash