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The Art and Science of Customer Service
What ever happened to great customer Service in America?
Pardon my question but it seems to have become the exception rather than the rule!
A recent flashback occurred after speaking with a representative from Sprint.
She was so polite, professional, competent and positive in communicated with me I looked around to see if I was being “ punked “ by a TV show.
I knew that was improbably because I was sitting in my house! So after she helped me with several items, and we were about to conclude I said to her, " is your service center here in Florida" ?
She paused for just the slightest moment and said; " no I’m here in the Philippines."
Now I’m sure that many of you reading this hub have been on calls where although the person was speaking English you knew they were not located in the United States. Perhaps you could barely understand them or they really were clueless in terms of successfully addressing your issue.
Needless to say, the above-mentioned occurrence was not one of them. It really got me to thinking about how rare it is to come across genuine great customer service in America.
Obviously, this is not about bashing our country but more of a " call to arms " of returning to the standard that use to be the envy of the world.
When I was “ little staypos “ before the days of the big box stores, my parents would always speak about the great service and attitude of the sales clerk or managers they encountered.
As I grew up over the years on the news and in the papers there were always stories about companies going out of the way to do the best and exceptional thing for those that would patronized their businesses. I myself could attest to the now out-of-date saying, “ the customer is always right “
What got in the " cool-aid " that American business has completely abandoned ship on this simple principle? You would think that there is somehow some secret formula to easy profits by marginalizing and alienating customers by the new landscape we now navigate in today!
Just to give you an example of an outrageous adherence to the customer being right back in the day. Once upon a time worked for a major athletic shoe retailer. I was just coming out of the military and was hired to be in their management program. Although a dream of a lifelong career in retail never quite took off it was quite an eye opening experience. I clearly remember one set of principles that was drilled during our little training class – the customer is always right, even if they were actually wrong.
The point was hammered home on the first visit from our district manager. He proceeded to tell us that managers of this national chain not only had the authority but the obligation to make sure every customer was completely satisfied with their purchase. So far so good right?
Well he went on further to say and point out in our written manual, if a mother came in with four children six months after she had purchased the shoes (and had her receipt …whew) and stated that she was unsatisfied with them we were authorized to trade them for new shoes or grant a full refund.
Now, we were trained to use judgment and encouraged to attempt to get an exchange for them but if the customer insisted then they could get their money back. Period.
Even if she would have to have the kids sit down and take the shoes off their feet that were supposedly not satisfactory!!
I'm certain the policies are not quite as liberal today, but for a time that's what was known as Outrageous Customer Service :-)
Please share your story of OCS. Maybe we’ll start a grassroots movement back to the future!