Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Customer Service Training - For the Customer!

We all have customer service horror stories: surly customer service representatives, eternities spent on hold or being transferred a handful of times to people unable or unwilling to help. In that respect, we have all been there and we definitely know what kind of service we don’t want to receive. There is a clear need for customer service training. But, I have to wonder, if sometimes, we could use customer service training for the customer.

Customer service representatives have pretty stressful jobs and if we are honest, we know that we don’t always make it any easier for them. Just out of college, I worked briefly answering phones for a swanky hotel. I was routinely maligned and verbally abused. Of course, most guests were very nice but the ones who weren’t, left quite an impression!

I never understood why someone would think that yelling at me would compel me to give better service. In fact, it was just the opposite. I went out of my way to help those customers who genuinely wanted my help and were respectful. Those who weren’t ran into a lot more obstacles. Being nasty normally doesn’t work. Respect is a two-way street. If we expect to receive it, we should also give it.

Then there are times when we call in a perfectly respectful manner and receive rude treatment. I remember calling about a credit card statement once and getting a woman who was rude. I know I didn’t do anything to her and I told a little joke and her mood changed. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. But either way, I try not to take their attitude personally, and I also try not to respond to rudeness with more rudeness.

Sarcasm is an easy way to make a bad situation worse. I was not surprised when I read that a person who receives poor service shares the experience with at least 11 people. However, when that same person receives superior service, they share that experience with just four people.

We need to be more generous with our compliments. Offer a thank you to the person who retrieves your information quickly and courteously. Tip your server and tell him that he did a great job. A little courtesy goes a long way and who doesn't like it when their hard work and efforts are acknowledged?
Don’t keep great service a secret!