Customer Service

What do you do when you can’t sleep?  Sometimes I surf. Surf the web, in case there was any doubt. This morning I came across this bit about customer service at msn.com.  It is titled “10 Companies Americans love to hate.”

It reminded me of a customer service call I made yesterday.  I won’t identify the company.  The automated answerer picked up, gave me enough information to assure me I had dialed correctly, then placed my in a holding pattern.

I didn’t wait too long – a minute, perhaps 2.  But when I got a human on the other end, this is what I heard: “Hello, this is Millie, may I help you?”

All of which was great, except that Millie spoke with a tone of voice that left me thinking I ought to offer to help her.  She spoke sadly and slowly; did you know there was a female Eeyore in customer service?

My first thoughts were all about how the company I had called is losing it and they shouldn’t even be open any more if this is what they offer up as customer service.

Instead of saying this, of course, I shared my issue with Millie, and she slowly asked a couple of (reasonable) questions to be sure she understood what I had told her.  She then asked if I would mind being put on hold while she checked into it.  I said no, and waited.

I hadn’t caught what I would suggest as the perfect customer service personality, but I got my question(s) answered promptly and without difficulty.

The process included me remembering that on the other end of the phone line there happened to be another human being.

Since the way people treat people is a big part of my calling and passion, I will continue to assess every customer service; in fact, almost every conversation, for how interaction and relationship happen.

But I’ll also try and remember that, much as I prefer a human to a machine on the other end of the phone line, too many of us are far too fast to check our own humanity at the dial tone when we feel we have been wronged.

Want good customer service?  try being a good customer.  It won’t always fix everything, but it will make your day better, and, in turn, probably that of several others.

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