Ever get the feeling when you call and speak to a customer service person that you’ve seriously inconvenienced them, possibly ruined their day, and you get the distinct impression that they think you’re an idiot? Don’t you hate that? I know I do.
Or how about when you call a business and they don’t get back to you for days – sometimes not at all? Apparently, business is so good for them that they don’t have to give a hoot about their customers.
The worst, I think, is when you are dealing directly with a business already. They’re supposed to be doing work for you. You might have even paid them money. And what’s worse, your business is experiencing fallout from not being able to talk to the person you need to talk to. Let’s take, oh, website design as an example.
<nixon>But let me make this perfectly clear.</nixon> I exemplify the situation using a web designer because I’m a web designer. I am speaking of absolutely no one in particular. In actual fact, my little analogy’s star is a composite character composed of all the people I’ve encountered over the years who have no business even going near customer service. When you have a lousy customer service experience, it really sticks with you. :::sigh:::
Can you write a blog and not offend anyone, no matter what you do? Maybe if you just write about Puppies and Rainbows. Anyway. Onward.
You’ve hired a designer. They’ve built your site. Now, you’re experiencing some sort of problem – a page won’t load, formatting is odd, a vital piece of data has changed and you need it updated. You email, you call, you visit their last known address to no avail. So, now you’re stuck.
Or how about the fact that it simply takes them days and days and days to get back to you. Somehow, that’s even worse.
One can understand to some degree if a web designer has moved on to other things, particularly a freelancer who is only doing it for fun occasionally. But a designer in business who is actively working that won’t return calls or emails in a timely manner, that’s unforgivable. It takes 30 seconds to shoot off an email saying that they’re right in the middle of a job and they’ll get back to you shortly. Any designer that doesn’t have 30 seconds to do that has some serious time management issues.
I think I take particular exception to customer service inconsistencies because I come from a background of customer service. Every previous job I’ve had has entailed some degree of customer service layered in with my other duties.
But let me clarify. It’s not the background in customer service that makes me good at it – and I am good at it – it’s the fact that I’m a nice person. I treat people the way I want to be treated. Do I have bad days? Absolutely, it happens. And if my bad day bleeds out onto a client, I know it, and you can be damn sure that person will get a follow-up call or email apologizing for any bad mood goo that’s been flicked onto them. And every single time they say, “what bad mood?”
I suppose that’s where the customer service training comes in. Learning to deal with a customer without letting a disastrous mood get in the way.
So, there’s my take on customer service – politeness in a nutshell. My philosophy is very much in line with The Nard Dog’s (one of many The Office references you’re likely to get from me), and I quote:
“You give me a gift? Bam! Thank you note.
You invite me somewhere? Pow! RSVP.
You do me a favor? Wham! Favor returned.
Do NOT test my politeness.”