Earlier this week, I went out to dinner with my husband to celebrate making big strides in a diet I’ve been on… I’ve lost 16 pounds in 2 months, and a burger sounded really good as a “splurgy” reward.
Off we went to the restaurant. When the next morning arrived, however, I found myself in the throes of a particularly nasty bout of food poisoning caused by the potato salad I consumed the night before. Fearful that others might become likewise sickened, I called the restaurant and asked for the manager to let them know of the tainted food to get it pulled immediately.
The astounding lack of customer service floored me.
Not only did I not get an “I’m sorry,” but I also didn’t feel as though they cared enough about my businesses to try and do right to win it back. I wasn’t asking for anything like a refund or any other special consideration. But when I hung up, I felt as though my concerns about a very serious situation fell on deaf ears, and I wasn’t even sure that the manager cared enough to dump the bad potato salad so other people didn’t get sick.
Anyone who has been in this scenario feels like all they want from the other party is to be acknowledged, and get a little sympathy. And that the concern being raised will be addressed/rectified. That’s what customer service is all about.
Each of us has a role to play in customer service on the job – whether we are working directly with company customers, or with internal customers (colleagues). How we treat others is our brand, and can make a difference on how people come away feeling about the company and you.
However, that still doesn’t mean that there aren’t customer service bullies out there who won’t see anything you do as right. Baron Christopher Hanson wrote an incredible blog post about this topic, where he talks about the people who capitalize on company’s fear of angry customers to get more than what they should.
These clients “border on scam artistry” to get add-ons, freebies, and additional new demands.
We have to protect the company reputation at all costs. And that’s exactly where the bullies get you.
Oftentimes, they think the company policies/procedures don’t pertain to them, and basically ride over the top of those rules.
And if you try to enforce those policies (which 99.9% of the rest of the customers have no problem following), the bully starts their song and dance routine.
The truth is: customers are not always right, and each company has to decide how far this game can be played and at what cost to the company. Most of us are not in positions of power to make decisions as to when or how we might cut them loose.
But what we can do is control how we handle those difficult people in order to still provide customer service.
If we can take the time to train ourselves to think about customer service and anticipate people’s needs, then we are doing more to enhance our personal and company brand in the long run.
Customer service is a skill that everyone can benefit from, and enhances our ability to serve the people with whom we work… regardless if we are working with a good customer or a bad one.