Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Please and Thank You

We are always taught that "Please" and "Thank You" (P&TY for the sake of brevity) are the most powerful words/phrases in the English language.  Much like death and taxes, this is as true today as it has been for as long as man has been here on Earth.  I suspect, however, cavemen used "Ugh" and "Ouch".  

As important as it is for the customer service rep you are dealing with to use P&TY when assisting you, it is equally as important for you to try to be as-if not more-gracious yourself.  This will benefit you in dealing with the various types of reps:

1.  Nice-P&TY will help to gain mutual respect and therefore a mutually satisfying outcome.
2.  Mean-P&TY will keep the rep ass-holing their way through most of the call until you convince them that they are unqualified to assist even the least celled creatures.  You'll have the benefit of experiencing how polite they really get once you decide to move on.

Receivership of bad service should motivate you to speak to that rep's manager if you have the time.  I would argue, however, it's best to share that experience with your friends as chances are their reaction to it will have more of a chafing effect on the company than a manager chastising the rep based on your feedback.  I will, however, encourage you to speak to a manager every time you receive good, great or even amazing P&TY service.  There are a few reasons I say that:

1.  It should offer some guidance to the company on the kind of people they want to keep company with (I think that was a slight pun).
2.  Wouldn't you want the same done for you?
3.  Your comments may translate into a reward for the person.  After all, you were rewarded in time saved, aggravation not reached and a satisfying resolution to your issue.

And, when you can, write down the name and direct number of the rep that gave you this great service.  In most larger companies this is not possible, but take a crack at it.  I got a name and number from a Wells Fargo rep today and, believe you me, I will use it. Also, still believing you me, the rep will be more than happy to help me (above and beyond) because his manager got my feedback and shared it with him.

And believe me you, because this is what I do for a living.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Vacation and Gunther

Well, just back from a glorious vacation.  While blogging is not necessarily considered work, I took a little break from that too.  One of the constants during a vacation is the receiving of customer service. My intention for this blog is to not only offer advice on how to give excellent customer service (and all that it entails) but also how to receive excellent customer service.  Often times, we get so wrapped up in the bad service that we may receive from one individual that we waste our own time struggling to get what we want from them instead of just moving on to the next person.

Speaking of constants, you can always expect to receive poor customer service when dealing with large companies.  The last time I needed Comcast's support, it took me 3 calls to finally get to the right person who provided me with what I needed.  Yes, that is a waste of time.  But I guarantee that I spent a shorter amount of time with those 3 calls then most may spend arguing on one.

It all boils down to me getting what I want as the customer.  That I have to deal with the bureaucracy known as customer service in some of these larger companies is a force of nature that I will never be able to change.  I can only hope that I have as much as a positive influence on the person helping me, who might "pay it forward" to the next difficult customer they handle, as they have on me when I get what I want.

When I used to wait tables, I found myself constantly consoling other waiters when they got pissed about a bad tip.  My advice would always be to suck it up and don't let it affect your experience with your next table.  That next table may be a big tipper unless that bad attitude is carried to them.

Which brings me to Gunther (name has been changed to protect the identity of the innocent). Gunther was a young kid, probably working here because his parents thought it would be a good idea to teach him about the real world.   I was in the diaper section of a large grocery store and, of course they were out of my size (my kid's size, you...).  The first team member there started walking my way.

Me:  Excuse me, I am looking for the size 5 diapers in your brand and I don't see them.  Do you have any in the back?
Gunther: (In monotone) I don't know I just started working here.

Gunther then continued on his way.

Me:  Do you think that you could find that out for me?
Gunther:  I will try.

I did not expect him to return.  He did not return.  And that's okay.

I found the next team member walking by and got the help I needed.

Now,  I could have become irritated.  I could have spent time hunting down and waiting to speak to the store manager.  I ran into Gunther a bit later and I could have stopped and hassled him.  But, you know what, who would that really affect?  Me.  I would be wasting my own time.  And my words would have most likely fallen on deaf ears.

We've all been there.  We too, at one point, did not feel any gravity in our first jobs; we were surrounded by bad advice from disgruntled vets; we viewed the work day as something to get through, to survive; but most of all we probably did not give a shit about the job because it was something that we had to do because someone else told us so.

Don't waste your time worrying over bad service from young kids or from anyone. People are always complaining that they are not treated like human beings when calling for customer service.  Well, the same goes the other way-we need to treat customer service specialists like human beings too.

You've probably already heard or read about the incident known as "The worst customer service call you’ll ever hear, and it’s with Comcast" making the rounds on the interwebs.   While I can certainly understand the frustration this customer had with Comcast, after a while he could have simply hung up, cooled down and called back to speak to someone else.  Never hesitate to either ask for someone else to talk to or to hang up and call back instead of wasting your time trying to get what you want out of a less attentive rep.  Do not hesitate to ask for a supervisor if all others fail.  It is possible for you to get what you want and need you just need to find the right person to deliver it to you.

We do set our expectations high.  My father in-law always goes into Lowes with a pen and a paper. When he finds someone who delivers great assistance and customer service, he writes their name and department down.  When he comes back, he asks for the person by name.  Thus he achieves one of two positive outcomes:  either that person is working and assists him or that person is not working but the other reps on the floor treat him like he knows that person.  And typically, this will result in better service than on most "cold calls".

And it all boils down to this-he always gets what he needs.