Pseudo Customer Service

Janet Christy

I am not one of those who longs for the “good old days.” But I certainly do yearn for some good ole fashioned Customer Service.

Due to some recent travel and some frustration that has been building, I feel the need to express some examples of what Customer Service is NOT! If you are in business maybe you can use these examples to test your practices and be sure you are providing real, and not pseudo or imitation, Customer Service.

Customer Service is NOT:

  • Keeping the room temperature in a restaurant set for the comfort of your waiters/waitresses. Freezing your customers so that staff is comfortable is not Customer Service.
  • Following your or your company’s procedure/policy. There may be good reasons for following procedure/policy, but don’t pretend it has anything to do with Customer Service. Hiding behind a procedure/policy comes across as if you are lazy or do not care. Real Customer Service involves finding a way to satisfy your Customer without harming your company/employer even if it means “bending” procedure/policy
  • Saying “That’s what my order says,” when a Customer tells you that the order is wrong. Since this is often accompanied by a shoulder shrug or a set jaw, it comes across as “too bad, but I’m not doing anything about it.” Doesn’t sound like Service does it?
  • A Hostess/Host at a restaurant getting miffed because a patron doesn’t want to sit at the table the Hostess/Host chooses. Maybe the title should be changed from Hostess/Host to seater, since the patron is not being treated like a guest. In most restaurants a seat rotation is followed to be sure that all waiters/waitresses get their share of patrons. So who is this practice serving? The staff. If someone doesn’t want to sit at a specific table, then accommodate them because the next patron may prefer the rejected table.
  • Showing irritation when a Customer interrupts your personal phone conversation. Or even worse continuing to talk while the Customer waits. Are you kidding me?
  • Using a patronizing tone/attitude when a Customer has a question or complaint. Other words for patronizing are: condescending, demeaning, superior. Just because a Customer doesn’t know what you know or isn’t happy with something does not make them less intelligent.
  • Taking complaints personal. A Customer is irritated with a situation, procedure, product or something else other than you. However, if you take it personal and get defensive then their irritation will be diverted to you.
  • Conducting a survey to determine what the Customer thought about the Customer Service/Sales/Repair person and how they handled the call. The real survey should be about the request/order/complaint and how it was handled or solved, not if the Customer Service representative read the script properly.
  • Telling a Customer that they will/may be surveyed and that you would appreciate them giving you an “Excellent” or “High” rating because their company only rewards those ratings. The real test is if the Customer comes back.

I could go on and on, but hopefully you get the point. Customer Service is about the Customer – not you, your company, your feelings or your preferences. Customers who actually receive Service are repeat Customers.

Janet Christy, Founder and President of consulting firm, Leverage & Development, LLC
Copyright 2013 Author retains ownership. All Rights Reserved.

Category: Customer Care
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