Wednesday, November 7, 2012

GETTING the best customer service

A majority of our shopping memories – both positive and negative – comes from the experience we had in customer service.

Customer service can be a make-it-or-break-it factor in a shopping experience turning out fabulous or frightening. The focus of “good” customer service is usually on the person giving the service; we rely on the salesperson, store clerk, call center employee, or service manager to GIVE good customer service.
But, as a customer, your role on the receiving end of customer service is important, too! How can you increase the likelihood of GETTING good customer service? Here are a few ideas:

Be nice. A polite demeanor and positive attitude will set you apart from other shoppers. A study done by Penn State University found that customer service representatives were cursed at, belittled, or threatened on the average of seven times  a day. If you are a customer that is NOT cursing, belittling, or threatening, but instead sharing a warm and friendly presence, it will likely be noticed. And possibly rewarded.
While being nice might increase your chances of getting good customer service, it’s simply the right thing to do – after all, didn’t our mothers always tell us to “Be nice!”??

Be honest. Tell the truth when speaking with a customer service professional. After all, they’re in a position to help YOU; lies or half-truths make that a nearly impossible. If you are returning or exchanging an item that is damaged or malfunctioning, say so. If you are returning or exchanging an item that you simply don’t want or had buyers’ remorse after purchasing, say that, too. Getting good customer service requires disclosure and honesty on behalf of the customer; telling a lie or covering up the truth can almost guarantee that in that moment or later on down the road, you’ve set yourself up for a poor customer service experience.
You want to be on the same team as the clerk, the cashier, or the salesperson. So act like a team by sharing the same goals, advocating for each other, and being honest.

Be vocal when things go well. Complaining to other customers around us, telling your friends of an awful experience, posting a ‘rant’ on Facebook or Twitter … these are all ways we are vocal when things don’t go our way as a customer. If we were wronged or offended by a customer service experience, we make sure to spread the word.  

I wonder what would happen if we were just as vocal when things go well? What if we raved to other customers around us, told your friends of your fabulous experience, and posted ‘kudos’ on Facebook or Twitter every time things went well? Or, what if we were in the habit of sharing our appreciation directly with the employee and his or her manager? Being vocal on the positives of customer service could set a tone for consistently great customer experiences. 

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