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Customer service, a hard day's work
Don't be someones nightmare!
We let negative emotions rule
We all have, at one time or another, received something that was broken, boxed incorrectly, billed for something we didn't buy etc., and the first reaction is negative of course because now we have to have the situation fixed which will take time and effort we shouldn't have to deal with. Yet, it's a fact of life, errors happen. It's what you do next which tells a lot of who you are and how the problem will be resolved.
I used to work in the travel trade as a wholesale agent, and part of the job for me and my co-workers was to give good customer service to our clients which were the travel agents. Like any other field of work there are issues that arise from time to time which have to be addressed. We had one agent who no one wanted to work with because every time she would call, even just to book a vacation, she started spouting off negativity. She would curse and belittle those who answered her call, and no matter how friendly we tried to be her disposition was the same, yet, it was our duty to service her. Then there were those who, no matter what the situation was, calmly addressed their problem and asked our help in resolving the issue. Who would you rather work with? Both would have their issues resolved, but being nasty and rude didn't resolve the situation faster, and only left her and those in her wake stressed.
Although some think that if they scream and shout to the person on the other end of the phone or across the customer service counter, that they will get their way; that might makes right, but it's not the smart way to resolve an issue. I know from plenty of those that work in customer service that they would have helped resolve the problem faster if the customer had just been civil and courteous.
Before you make that call......
Whether you will see the customer service representative face to face or will be talking to them on the phone here are some helpful hints on how to make everything run smoother:
- Take a deep breath AND make sure you are calm and not in an agitated state when calling, visiting the store or place of business.
- When you talk to the representative, start by asking how their day is going and how the weather is where they are (if on the phone). Stay on a positive note. That way they won't have their guard up and bristle at the tone of your voice.
- Don't make unreasonable demands and don't use fowl language or a raised voice. It won't help and very possibly will hurt a quick resolution to the problem.
If following these three important steps still don't result to your satisfaction, then I would ask for a supervisor, but again, even if you have to elevate to this step, keep your cool.
Many times a company is will offer more then just a replacement or refund. A cool head and gratitude often earns rewards. I know in travel, often if a hotel was not what the customer was expecting, they not only would move them to a better room, but send them wine or some other item complimentary. Companies want your satisfaction and loyalty and often will overcompensate to please you. It's OK to ask if there is anything else they can do for your inconvenience, but don't demand it. As long as the situation for which you were addressing has been resolved, be happy with that.
It should be about trust
In the end, you want the company to fix the problem and they want the same thing. You have to go into it with faith and trust first. If you have the attitude that "I know they will make this right", then the anxiety and stress will diminish greatly. The representative you will talk to was not personally to blame for the issue, but they are there to help. They can and will be your ally.
Good customer service is why people keep coming back
A final note about what makes good customer service
Service to the customer IS customer service. From your favorite stores and restaurants which you frequent to the hairdresser you know will cut your hair just right, the one thing they all have in common is good service. Without it you wouldn't keep going back, they wouldn't stay in business long and they certainly shouldn't expect any loyalty. Customer service comes with almost any job that deals with the public. You don't have to have the title of customer service for it to be a big part of the job.
One of my favorite stores is my grocery store. It's Raley's which is a grocery chain located in northern California. My local store has had my loyalty for over 20 years. Why? Because I never worry about the quality of their product and when on rare, rare occasions there has been a problem, they have never doubted my word, quickly resolving my issue. The people are friendly always, with many getting to knowing me personally and asking about my family etc. This is a great example of service to a customer. To make them feel like family....the feeling is mutual!