Customer Service and what it is and is not

Here we are face to face with the holiday season once again!  Whether, your a customer in a store or a customer on the phone customer service is the who’s and whats that your dealing with.  This past week I have experienced both forms of communication with a customer service representative and I must say none of my experiences were of the rewarding kind, well at least on my part that is. I have questioned if I am too critical of my expectations of customer service because I myself come from an extensive history of customer service experience.  Not to toot my own horn, I have never had a complaint on the way I handle the many issues that arise, I have numerous letters and verbal responses for how well I put myself out there and ensure the final result is what it should be “SATISFACTORY”.

In my days of doing customer service I went out of my way for the customers, I ensured that every angle of the problem was covered, I have even received gifts from customers that were so satisfied with “my” service that the gratefulness they felt was to provide gifts, verbal letters etc. The true gift was seeing that I did my job, I guess its in my nature to “go out of my way” for others, which makes customer service jobs great for persons like myself. In my eyes, excellent customer service is all about making the “customer” feel warm and welcome, appreciated in a sense and taking care of customer problems and complaints.  I define “customer” as  the you,  the me,  and I, as well as us the shopper aka the person who buys.  My customer service motto, treat customers the way I want to be treated because their problem could very much be my own someday.

Customer service is not brain surgery nor is it some complicated task that needs a degree from an Ivy league school but I do think it takes a certain someone to do that line of work, it is the meat and potatoes of an organization, without customer service what is there? Management will refer you to us, customer service is the know it alls of the business, well supposed to be’s anyway.  Why is it today I go to an “unspecified store” to purchase an item for my son, the cashier doesn’t say two words to me even after I said “hello”, she rang, I paid and the entire 2 minutes and 49 seconds it took not once did the customer service rep say anything.  I do get bothered because I think that is rude and I feel there are people out there who would scrub the toilets right now to have a job because the rate of unemployment is so high. 

 My next experience began on a Monday and finally came to a conclusion four days later. I had the pleasure of having to speak to my health insurance company this week in reference to a form my husband needed to have authorized by them for treatment, On day 1, the first problem the girl at the doctors office incorrectly did the paperwork wrong which resulted in a denial.  On day 2, the other girl at the doctors office who I must say is good at what she does and has great customer service skills redid the form and refaxed it, after numerous calls that day and the day after as well as the day after that and that, The issue at hand was finally resolved, For every representative I spoke to, yes they were nice but the information given each time was inncorrect, how do the people hired to do the jobs of customer service land the jobs and become so laxadaisy?  How did they get the job to begin with?  I am interested to know what you think, how can organizations be comfortable with the failures of their customer service or do they just not care?    Could it be a new generation of upper management, that just doesn’t know or care?

Henry Ford once said “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”

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