What happens when customer service is a #fail?

Keep Gate Closed

Originally uploaded by gregmeyer

You’ve seen it before. It’s the shop that closes at 4:45pm when the posted hours are until 5pm. It’s the airline desk where an overwhelmed worker lashes out verbally at angry customers trying to get somewhere they need to go.

So, what happens when Customer Service is a #fail?
You can start by getting angry. You can start by demanding what you want. You can start a lot of ways, but they probably won’t help you get what you need.

I have a few ideas about how to approach the service fail, both from the customer’s point of view and from the service provider’s perspective.

From the customer’s point of view:
1)You need to be acknowledged – to hear that there was a problem.
2)You need to be given some options (in the case of the closed store, 3) that’s going to be hard that day; in the case of an airline, you have better options.

And you also bear some responsibility as well:
1) to treat the other person as a participant in the process, not just as a sounding board for your anger;
2) to be clear about what you want so that the service professional can try to help you;
3) and to accept that the solution offered may not be what you want or need. In that case, you can always vote with your feet.

Service providers need to remember what it’s like to be the customer. As a provider, you definitely won’t get it right for 100% of your customers. You can always care. And you can always own your mistakes so that the next time, they happen differently or not at all.


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