Throughout my history as a business professional, one of the things that I have to offer consistently is superior customer service. Think about this; when someone calls me they are in a fix as something is broken. There are a myriad of emotions in play from anxiety to anger.
As the guy who is going to take care of all of their problems the first thing that I have to do is understand where they are coming from. Then listen to them and take notes. This helps me to remember the points of the discussion and if in front of the customer, it helps them to calm down as they see me doing something.
These are some of the things that I would make sure my technicians carried with them into the field.
I truly believe that we as a country are drifting away from giving a damn about clients. It is almost like we are the post office or the phone company; we are all that there is so we just don’t care about your problems. But wait! We are not all that there is. The phone company has competition as does the USPS. Granted e-mail, FedX and UPS, are not the end all of competition, but it is a start. Vonage and Magic Jack to name two, are good alternatives and much less expensive then the phone company, not to mention the cell phone.
Competition drives us to be good at what we do, and that includes customer service.
Exploring new shopping places as I like to do from time to time, I had occasion to shop at a place called Central Market. http://www.centralmarket.com The layout of the store was well thought out. There were people who came up from time to time to see if I needed any help and here is the biggie; they not only bagged my groceries but they carried them out to the car and put them into the car for me. When I tried to give the guy a tip, he refused it politely! While their prices are a little higher than that of Wal-Mart, or Kroger, the service was excellent and the choices were fresh and plentiful. With people offering help that cut down on my time in the store and time is money!
A lot of you are most likely not old enough to have ever purchased gasoline where it was pumped for you by a friendly attendant. While they were filling your car up, they would wash your windshield, check your oil, and other fluids and check the air in your tires. At the end of the transaction you might get “green stamps” or even a dish or other some such give-away as a token of their appreciation for doing business with them. While I too am not old enough for this to have happened to me; I do remember vividly this very transaction process with my parents. I also remember how nice they were and how they really seemed to appreciate the business.
In stark contrast today, if you do need anything other than what you can do outside at the pump, there is a strong likelihood that the person behind the counter will speak limited English and really wont give a damn if you like the product or not.
I was in a Kroger a few years ago when they first put in the self-checkout machine. I was appalled by this for several reasons. First, I want that little bit of customer service when I patronize a store. Secondly, those kiosks hardly ever work flawlessly and unless you are only buying a handful of items, they are a pain the rear. Lastly and this is the part that I really wanted to drive home, these things are taking jobs away. I remember that night vibrantly as not one checker was at his post. When I found someone he directed me to the self-checkout. I told him that either he checked me out or he could put all of the groceries in my cart back from where they came! Begrudgingly he went to his register and checked me out! What an idiot, a lazy star-studded blazing example of the entitled society that we have raised! Not only did he not want to do his job, he was trying his best for me to do his job and was incensed when I called him on his attitude.
I think we need to vote with our feet or in this case, with your pocket-book. I will happily pay a little more for a little extra service. I actually like to be told to have a nice day! Do you really feel appreciated when a machine says thank you on the screen?
The world in which we live changes daily; some of those changes are for the better; and some not so much. Society needs to dictate to the business world, what is acceptable and what is not. Like sheep we all too often simply roll with it. We forget however that we are the boss. I have to provide superior customer service to keep my customers coming back time after time. We the consumer should expect that and demand that from the different vendors that we frequent. You do that in a myriad of different ways but the best way; the way that they will listen to, is to spend your money where you get the best value for it, including customer service.
If there are places that you like to shop because of the customer service, send a message and I will post it. Consumers need a bill of rights, not only when they are flying but when they are spending their hard-earned money on anything from products, service or otherwise.
-Best to you and those that you care about.