Wednesday, December 17, 2014

5 ways you can be a better Customer/Company

Every company that has any kind of success knows that the real reason for their success is the relationship that company has with their customers.  They strive for perfect customer service.  They want YOU to have a great shopping 'experience'.  As a result, these great service companies have made something of a monster, namely, YOU.  More and more people are displaying behavior that does not deserve special treatment, it deserves to be spanked like a spoiled child.  The other thing is this.  If you behave like a rotten customer, the BEST you can hope for is by the book compliance.  That is to say if you are obnoxious, the representative has the option of falling back on company policy and procedure to make sure you get the minimum amount of satisfaction possible if at all.  Something like this: 'We will be happy to reimburse you, simply send the original receipt, the product, and the upc from a similar product that does work and you can expect a response in 6 to 8 weeks'.  Does that sound like you will get what you want?  On the other hand Companies have decided that there are 2 routes to take, either spend a lot on customer service, or go cheap.  Do either of these things sound ideal? No.  So here are some things you can do to get better customer service, or be better AT customer service.


1. - Listen - Maybe the most important thing in any communication process.  Any customer service is going to have a certain amount of explanation and instruction.  People seeking customer service usually have a preconceived notion about what will satisfy them and they are listening for that specific answer.  Anything else over the phone is just static.  Open your ears.  That information will help you get what you are looking for.  If you go through 90% of the trouble that they ask of you, that 10% will probably sink you.

2. - Get your crap together! - Before you call, you need to get all of the information together about what it is you want.  If it is a defective product, you should have the EXACT model number as well as the lot number of the item in question easily available.  The less time you need to spend to get your information together, the more likely you will get satisfaction.  This is the equivalent of filling out your checkbook register information after you have paid instead of before.  It's rude and stupid.  Once you have everything together, be clear and concise and you will probably have a much better chance at success.

3. - Be friendly - Don't call up mad.  Mad people are stupid.  Ooooh did I just say stupid?  Yeah, i didn't mean stupid I meant REALLY STUPID.  If you are frustrated and you can't seem to keep your emotions together to not abuse the person on the other end of the line, you really don't deserve to get any help.  Friendly people often get more than what they want because they are refreshing and pleasant to deal with.

4. - Do your homework - One of the biggest things I find amazing about people is their unwillingness to read anything.  They just don't want to read.  You have the internet.  Look up what you need help with, see what the procedures are for you to get maximum satisfaction.  There is no reason to not do this ahead of time.  To plead ignorance is to just get frustrated.

5. - Quit being so stinking picky - When you are in a restaurant or other service establishment, don't expect a better level of quality than you are willing to put up with when you are serving yourself.  A few of the leaves on the salad aren't super crisp?  Don't eat them.  eat the rest of the salad.  Your coffee is too hot?  Your ice cream is too cold?  Quit being such a baby.  Only if the food has clearly got problems should you bring attention to it and probably after the meal is done, not before you start eating.  This is for self preservation as well as not being a pain.  Sending food back is just BEGGING for someone to add a little special loogey sauce to your meal.  No of course it shouldn't happen.  Doesn't mean it won't.  Just don't eat whatever you didn't like and at the end of the meal mention it.  The server will either offer you a dessert or possibly a discount on the meal.  Remember the be friendly part.


1. - Native speakers of your markets - If you are going to pretend to offer customer service, you REALLY need to have customer service representatives that speak that language as a native.  Does that make me racist?  I hope not.  I hope it makes me someone that wants to understand the instructions i'm being told so I can be satisfied with your product or service.  Just because the speakers are native doesn't mean they are good, that's just a first metric of a good customer service agent.

2. - Do your homework! - Customer service reps NEED to know about the product or service or have the ability to bring up the knowledge quickly.  If that can't happen, there is really no point to calling customer service.  The ONLY reason I should have to be moved up to a higher rank of service agent is because they have the power and authority to actually help me.  Knowledge for process and procedure should be available quickly by the front line.

3. - Robots don't care - Having automated customer service trees that guide you down a seemingly endless path of non-satisfying options only to have you talk to a regular customer service rep at the end doesn't do much more than add insult to injury.

4. - What was that again?  - This is a BIG gripe for me.  If you are asking me to offer my customer ID whatever it is.  Once I have entered that ID, that should be the end of it.  If you are going to make me offer that id again for verification, there is no point to making me put it in for the robot and then again for you.  This goes for all kinds of industries where my identification seems to be important enough to bother me for, but not important enough to keep from email spammers.

5. - Offer the most up front - Don't be cheap with your customers.  Don't be cheap with your time.  When a customer needs some kind of satisfaction or mollification due to a faulty product or service.  Give them the most you can give up front and nothing more after that.  That costs too much?  Really?  Balance that against huge call wait times and customers that feel like they should try to game the system to get the most out of them and you'll soon see that offering the most up front will save time and ultimately money.

Just some thoughts on the customer service biz.  Aren't we all in customer service really?

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