I've been on the road a lot lately - out in public, paying attention to how people interact with each other (that is when they are not looking down at their smartphones) observing when people do get good service and when they don't.
While we as customers do our fair share of griping about the poor service "out there" I often wonder about how much of it we bring on ourselves.
While I'll never make excuses for poor service, since I believe delivering Exquisite Customer Care is within anyone's reach, I can understand why some service givers react that way they do. Some customers are downright ornery!
So in a turn of events in this Customer Care TIP, instead of teaching how to give good service I want to share with you how you can GET good service.
Herewith: seven things.
- Smile - It's a lot easier for a service giver to smile when they are being smiled at! Be friendly and open. Don't assume you'll get bad service - in fact those people that expect it, usually get it. Try a different approach - sometimes you might be wrong - but who cares, maybe sometimes you'll be right. Assume the service giver really wants to deliver great service.
- Engage the service giver in conversation. Relationships are two-way - don't only make it their responsibility to talk to you. "It's a nice day, don't you think?" "Where are you from?" "Oh! I love those earrings, they're so becoming." Old adage still works - you attract more bees with honey. Once you have established a relationship with the service giver - it's more likely you'll get the good service.
- Do not put the service giver on the defensive. You know what their reaction will be - offensive. And given the state of service today - you are not guaranteed to win. Don't for a moment think they believe that you are always right. Learn good negotiation skills if you want your way, don't shout at the person whose help you need.
- Refrain from placing blame. State the facts "I'd like to return this product, it doesn't work." Say it in an even tone, with out drama.
- Dump the Drama. We know the story sounds better if you exaggerate, and it may have felt like you were left on hold for 15 minutes and had to talk to a bazillion people, the reality is you were on hold for 5 minutes and had to repeat your story 3 times. It's okay for you as the customer to feel that is unacceptable, but exaggerating the story actually makes you less believable to the person who is taking the complaint.
- Be responsible. If you are trying to dispute an invoice or correct an error, keep accurate documentation of whom you spoke to and when and what transpired.
- Listen carefully. (It's a lost art) Ask questions. Whether or not you want to do this doesn't matter - fact is you'll get better resolution if you are a better customer.
I'd love service to be better - and it's my goal to transform the mediocre customer service we see today into Exquisite Customer Care - but in the meantime if you want better service - be a better customer! At the very least - meet the service giver half way. And who knows, maybe after having such a wonderful interaction with you, the service giver will be inspired to do better with the next person.