You’d be surprised at some of the horrible customer service stories going around the internet. While it’s true that both sides can be culprits at times, it is absolutely inexcusable for a customer service rep to behave in a way that belittles or disrespects the customer. If you can believe it, there are actually companies that employ some of the following strategies absolutely without training their representatives to think any other way, and that is the first step towards practicing poor customer service.
Customer Service Rep: “The Supervisor Will Tell You the Same Thing”
If a customer asks to talk to the supervisor or the manager, get them the supervisor or the manager. While it is true that you may get discourteous customers and customers who won’t understand instructions even if you hold their hand and walk them through everything, if they ask for the supervisor then get them the supervisor. Customer service is there for the service of the customer, telling a customer “The supervisor will tell you the same thing” isn’t service—it’s scolding. It’s telling the customer “I’m right, you’re wrong and you’re an idiot,” and that’s not how customer service is done. Now, if a customer is being aggressive and harassing the customer service provider, then other measures are to be taken, but by no means are you to be disrespectful. Unfortunately, there are some service representatives who are told by supervisors and managers to keep them out of customer calls, but if the customer is asking for the supervisor then the supervisor needs to get on the line.
Follow the Script
Granted, most customer service situations can be solved by simply following a formulaic script to walk the customer through their problems. However, this can lead to carelessness and apathy from the customer service representative and that can lead to problems. For example, there was a man calling to cancel his recently deceased father’s credit card and he explained to the service representative that the father, Pat, had passed away and had designated him as Executor of Estate. The representative responded with “I’ll have to speak with Pat.” This is an example of how repeating the same lines over and over can dehumanize the customer to the representative and cause serious lapses in focus, which, as the previous example this, can lead to serious problems.
“I am Sorry, But that’s Our Policy”
Nope, nope, nope. Your policy is to help out the customer. If you can help the customer, then help them. If it’s a little extra work to figure out a way around this policy, then go the extra mile, because you sold your customer service to them when they became clients. Great customer service is service between two people with one doing what they can to help the other; it isn’t between a person and an automated response machine in human form.
In the end, the worst advice we’ve heard is the advice that takes the ‘customer’ out of ‘customer service’. Treat your customers as people and they’ll stay loyal to you for a long time.
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