by Jane Betters
Over the last week I've moved my offices from one location to another. That meant contracting a mover, porting phone numbers and DSL and installing at the new office, changing utilities and a lot of sweat labor! What I found was the good - and the bad - of customer service. Let me count the ways!
- BAD - a 'select a shipper' site that wouldn't let you communicate through email or phone with the mover until you accepted their bid. Scary. Wouldn't do it again, though I was lucky.
- GOOD - a mover who always had a smile, a good word and did an excellent job
- BAD - a major phone company who didn't tell me in advance that porting my numbers over (same company, same area) would mean my Internet would be down for a WEEK and had to come out twice to get the jacks wired correctly.
- BAD - a big box electronics store - almost empty - where I 'interrupted' 2 employees chatting with a couple of phone and computer questions. I was sent to their 'computer geeks' and told it was either a hardware or a software problem (oh really?) and they'd need to do the full blown $199 diagnostic. I went back and rebooted and it was fixed.
- BAD - over 4 hours in one day on the phone trying to get DSL to work. Being told by a tech - "maybe you should go to an Internet cafe". Where might I find one of those in Dallas! Especially lugging an iMac!
I've had plenty of time to think about these interactions and I observed 3 things that could make the world a happier place:
- Listen! In two instances I had phone technical support argue with me over things that were right in front of me. . . one example, the tech said I could not possibly be connected directly from a modem to a computer - there had to be a router in the middle. I told him multiple times that I was sitting there staring at the connection and there was no router involved. Arghhh! I finally laughed and he did too! I'm still not laughing at the other instance, too complicated to discuss - plus I don't want to relive it!
- Be real! That goes for the customer as well as those in customer service. We all get stressed. We all can lose patience. But a kind, empathetic voice delivering bad news - like "it will be a week before you get Internet" - makes an enormous difference over a cold, robotic, script-reading voice that lacks humanity.
- Remember the Golden Rule! Do to others as you'd want them to do to you. Wow. All these interactions were between people. Each of us wants to be noticed, to be heard - especially during trying situations.
So, here is the good news. There is an amazing opportunity to keep customers and gain new ones - just by being human. By caring. By going that extra step. By putting yourself in the place of your customer. And customers, remember that you have an opportunity too. To be a bright spot in a day of complaints and problems. We're in this together! Let's make the most of every moment - every interaction. You may just make someone's day!