Some Lessons About Customer Service

Phyllis over at Something New Everyday recently wrote a post about a rather nasty customer service experience that she had experienced with her internet connection – which took 9 days to actually resolve. It sounds like the entire process was incredibly painful with way too many phone calls to try and get someone to help. However, Phyllis came away from the experience with some ideas about dealing with dissatisfied customers. I think these are lessons from which we can all learn. They are:

  • Don’t make a promise that can’t be kept
  • Tell the customer the truth instead of what they want to hear, if the two aren’t the same thing
  • Apologize only when you can offer a solution
  • Internal communication is essential so the customer isn’t given conflicting information
  • Don’t wish someone a good day, when they have just told you how your bad service is ruining their day
  • Keep a sense of humor and use it appropriately
  • Be aware of cultural differences

I especially like the suggestion not to wish someone a good day when they have a legitimate problem with something. There is very little that is more aggravating than having someone end a phone conversation with “Have a good day – and thank you for calling us” if the company has not solved your problem. The suggestion to not promise something that cannot be delivered is also critical. Customer service representatives seem to do this all the time. To me, this is actually a lie – and that is the worst possible thing that people can do to angry and unhappy customers.

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