That Customer Again


Reading time ( words)

I always have customer service on my mind. I read everything about customer service I can get my hands on. To me customer service is what business is all about. Customer service is what the customer wants from us. It is what keeps those customers coming back time after time, even after we screw up. Yes, we all screw up from time to time.

Think about your own life. Do you like to complain to a company? Do you enjoy it when something goes wrong? Don’t you hate it when that new washing machine you bought last week stops working and you are going to have to call the store? Do you dread it when you are going to have to talk to the guy plowing your driveway because he is doing a bad job? Or when you have a misunderstanding about a warranty and you are going to have to make that call?

Look, we all hate complaining to customer service. There are very few individuals who look forward to conflict of any kind, and conflict is what we expect when we call with a complaint. We hate the idea of what they are going to say to us. Even the calmest and nicest of us worries about being disrespected or pushed enough to have to say something in anger, or getting to the point of losing our temper. Do you understand that tenseness I’m talking about?

How about his scenario: You’re on your way to an important sales meeting. In fact, you are running the sales meeting so you have to get there tonight in order to be prepared for the meeting which starts tomorrow morning in a city 2,000 miles away from home. You gave yourself plenty of time, left the house at four this morning to catch your plane. You made sure you had over two and a half hours of layover time in Detroit before your connecting flight to your final destination, where you expect to land at 4 pm, giving you plenty of time to get to your hotel, settle in for the evening, do your prep work, have a quiet dinner, relax and get a good night’s sleep.

But for some reason, the connecting flight is delayed and delayed and delayed, and then finally cancelled! And there is no weather in Detroit and no weather at your destination. When you join the long line at the service counter, you watch as one service person after another leaves for break and the line gets longer and longer and you wait for an hour only to be told by a bored service person that the best they can do is get you on a flight at 6 pm tomorrow! And, by the way, she doesn’t know why your flight was cancelled.

Do I have your attention now? Do you understand the tenseness I’m talking about now?

Well, transfer that to your customers. Is this the way they feel about you when something goes wrong? Do they feel like they are going to get the old runaround? Do you try to solve their problems with empathy or do you say “Stuff happens” and shrug your shoulders? Do you walk in their shoes and go the extra mile to get them what they need or do you just give them answers based on your company policies?

Back to how we all dread calling to complain. What if the person on the other end of the phone is pleasant, accommodating, and helpful? What if that person not only solves your problem with a smile but goes the extra distance to compensate you for your inconvenience? How does that make you feel? Relieved, right? You actually feel pretty happy.

In fact, because you were expecting the worst based on past experience, you now feel great! You want to reach through the phone and hug that customer service person. You want to jump for joy and tell everyone about the great customer service you got from this great customer service person at this great customer service-oriented company.

Think about your own company. What do you do to give your customers that same feeling? Do you deliver such great customer service that your customers want to jump for joy and tell everyone about you and your company? If not, why not?

If not, you are not doing things right and you’d better rethink your whole customer service approach right now. It’s only common sense.

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