Purgatory Service: the place between customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction

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“Purgatory service” is a term used in customer service to describe the experience of being transferred, tossed or bounced around between multiple representatives or departments without any resolution to the issue. It is named after the concept of purgatory in religious theology, which is a place of temporary punishment where souls are cleansed of sins before being admitted to heaven. In the context of customer service, purgatory service can be frustrating and time-consuming for the customer, who may feel trapped in an endless loop of transfers and automated menus. It is important for companies to avoid purgatory service and instead strive for efficient and effective issue resolution.

The word “purgatory” is used to describe this type of customer service because it feels like a place where customers are stuck in between satisfaction and dissatisfaction, waiting for a resolution or an answer. It’s similar to the idea of purgatory in some religions, where souls are waiting to move on to heaven or hell. In customer service, it’s a frustrating and often prolonged experience where customers feel stuck and unable to move forward until their issue is resolved.

How to de-escalate a purgatory service situation

There are a few strategies you can adopt to manage, and dissolve a frustrating customer experience:

  1. Listen actively: Listen to the customer’s concerns without interrupting them. Show empathy and understanding of their frustration.
  2. Apologize: Apologize for the inconvenience caused and take responsibility for the issue. This can help to calm the customer down and make them feel heard.
  3. Offer a solution: Offer a solution that addresses the customer’s concerns. If you are not able to provide an immediate solution, offer a timeline for resolution and follow through on it.
  4. Be transparent: Be transparent about the steps being taken to resolve the issue. Keep the customer informed about the progress being made and any setbacks encountered.
  5. Stay calm and professional: It is important to remain calm and professional throughout the interaction, even if the customer is being rude or aggressive. Avoid getting defensive or taking the situation personally.

Is a purgatory service bad after all?

Purgatory service is generally considered bad for customer satisfaction and the overall success of a business. It can lead to customer frustration, negative word-of-mouth, and loss of business. It is important for businesses to prioritize providing excellent customer service and resolving customer issues in a timely and effective manner to avoid creating a purgatory service situation.

What is the bright side of a purgatory service?

While purgatory service may not be ideal, there are some potential benefits to consider. For example, it can give customers a chance to calm down and reflect on their situation, which may lead to a more constructive conversation when the issue is finally addressed.

Additionally, it can give the customer service representative more time to gather information, investigate the issue, and develop a thoughtful solution. In some cases, the delay in resolution can also give the customer time to consider alternative solutions or even realize that the issue was not as urgent as they initially thought.

However, it extremely important to note that these potential benefits are often outweighed by the negative effects of a prolonged delay in resolving the issue.

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