Having worked in a few customer service positions, I have seen a broad spectrum of customers. My favorites are the ones who walk in with a smile and you can just tell that they will be a pleasure to help. But, we all know that not every customer is like that. I’m sure I’m not the only one who can recall a particular customer that really got under my skin or seemed to blow a situation out of proportion. However, these are the customers that we really need to give the best customer service to. Easier said that done, I know! But if you really think about it, should your service be any different to them than it is to the customer with a smile? Sure, it would be easier to interrupt the customer who won’t let you speak, or get short with the one who just doesn’t want to understand no matter how many times you explain something, but it really won’t do any good. You are always going to have those customers. So why not try to turn things around for the better. This is your opportunity to take a negative and turn it into a positive experience.
Take my husband for example. He recently ordered a panel for his recliner that can be zipped in and out of the chair. We were supposed to receive it in 2-4 business days, but after 10 business days, we still had not seen it. My husband emailed and called multiple times, but to no avail. Finally, he was able to get a hold of a manager, who basically blew him off. We were told that their ordering system had not been working correctly, and that our order must have “slipped through the cracks”. They would make sure it got shipped out in the next couple days. Wow, this was not the customer service we expected! There was no sorry, no offer to expedite the shipping, nothing. Just a bunch of excuses. He didn’t listen to what we were saying, and he really didn’t seem to care that we were upset. Needless to say, this did not make my husband very happy. So he called up the chain and finally spoke to the owner of the company, Steve. Steve had a very different attitude, and actually heard what my husband was saying. He took the time to listen to the situation, and to do what it took to make it right. That manager could definitely learn a thing or two from Steve! In the end, we were left with a good feeling about the company, all because of the way we were treated by Steve.
The whole situation got me thinking about the customer service I provide. The daily grind can really wear on a person, but am I portraying that to my customers? I sure don’t want to be perceived as the grump who answered the phone and wouldn’t listen. So what can I do to make sure that doesn’t happen? Here are a few things I try to do to make sure I provide a positive experience.
- Take a moment and breathe- Take that extra second before dealing with a tough situation and take a breath. It can help clear your mind and calm you down so you are better able to handle the situation.
- Smile before answering the phone- I have a little saying I tell myself before I answer the phone. “Happier than a bird with a French fry” Even though that may not be the way I am feeling at the time, it makes me smile to just imagine a little bird making off with a treasure of a nice big french fry. And I do believe that a smile can be heard.
- Hear what the customer is saying- A lot people are listening, but are you really hearing what your customer is saying? Empathize with the customer and see how it is that you can improve the situation.
Like I said, these are just a few things that work for me. Maybe you do something completely different to ensure you are providing great customer service. Whatever it is, keep it up!
A big thank you to Stephanie Straley, our “happier than a bird with a french fry” gal in customer service for the content of this blog!