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4 Secrets to Great Customer Service


4 Secrets to Great Customer Service

In the past week, I’ve had THREE absolutely TERRIBLE customer service experiences, and one bad one.

These three were not bad customer service experiences…these were well beyond simply bad. The amount of time wasted only compounds the rest of the situation.

I’m convinced that it requires substantial effort to put in this little effort. I’m sure that I’m being punk’d.

First, there was my health insurance experience with my mother.

Then, there was American Airlines sending our bags to Portland, Maine…after having us wait in the airport for about 2 hours, AFTER getting home on our delayed flight. The worst part wasn’t losing the bags, but having us wait around with no information whatsoever, only to tell us two hours later that they have no information.

Today, I got to call my bank…what a delight! All I wanted to do was order checks. An hour and 25 minutes later, and four transfers later they can finally send me checks.

And then as I write this, I got to talk to a voicemail, because my hosting company wasn’t taking calls. All I want to know is why my sites keep going down causing me to lose content.

The secrets to great customer service

It’s actually pretty simple to provide great customer service.

  1. Validate. This means making sure that WE, the customer, understand that YOU, the representative, understand the problem.
  2. Whether or not you can actually fix the problem, be a human being and care enough to be genuinely sorry. Don’t use words like “apologize” or “inconvenience.” Say “we’re sorry we messed up, but I’m going to do everything I can to make you smile today and get you what you need.” In the case of my mother’s health insurance, nothing was “inconvenient” about it, it was downright fucking serious. It’s a woman’s life.
  3. Take accountability. There is nothing so frustrating as someone passing you off. It screams “I don’t care, let this be someone else’s problem.” What’s better is caring about solving the customers problem. When we call customer service, we want help, we’re practically begging for it, and we get angry when we feel you don’t care about us.
  4. Make the customer happy. Unless the customer is being unreasonable, fix the problem. In the event that the problem is actually serious (such as life-and-death), then stop hiding behind your policy and instead deal with the human being on the other side of the phone.

If management is instructing customer service to do anything else than these 4 steps, then it is giving bad instructions.

If you are in customer service, which we all are, try harder. You can always try harder. You can always go the extra mile. And if you don’t, then maybe you deserve to get yelled at.

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