“Your Call is Important to Us”
Yeah, right. “The doctor will be with you shortly”. Bull roar.
The worst one is standing in a line so long it snakes out the front door of my bank. There’s one wicket open. Off to the side, all the other tellers chat and giggle, ignoring my exasperated, time-starved fellow standees.
The customers in front of me must surely be renegotiating a mortgage, laundering money or paying their credit cards off with rolls of pennies. What else could possibly take so long?
True, the sign that says, “Stand here for Customer Service” never said how long we had to stand. There was no mention at all of inclement weather in Hades. And the banner on the far wall earnestly seeks our praise with, “Let us know if you received excellent service.”
Are They Serious?
Do they really mean from here?!! For sure they won’t be getting kudos from the cranky folks in this line. We’re all feeling like Jane and Michael Banks in Mary Poppins, ready to scream, “Give me back my money” and run away with our tuppence.
It doesn’t have to be like this. Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk have written volumes to say it shouldn’t be. And they warn us that it no longer can be. Or else.
In their books, Linchpin and The Thank-you Economy, respectively, they talk about the ever-growing importance of generosity and caring, respectively. It seems that common courtesy is so UNcommon these days, it has now become a bonafide business strategy if an enterprise is to have any chance of survival.
Companies that continue to pay lip service to customer service won’t last long. Thanks to social media and the online environment, consumers now have the power and upper hand in every transaction. Kudos, complaints – and how the companies involved react, especially to the latter – occur in real time and can be followed by everyone, everywhere.
The truly good news is that it costs no more to be kind. And it makes you feel good when you are. So be generous with your information. Smile when you answer the phone. Bend over backwards to help.
If you’re treating people with the respect your customers – and all human beings – deserve, you’ll know it and so will they. You won’t need to put up a sign begging for their praise.
Unless you want one that says “Out of business”.
Got any customer service horror stories? (Who doesn’t?)
How about over-the-top great experiences?