Take a Number

All I wanted was an acknowledgement.

Short story: my son’s birthday present arrived after the fact, though the company had previously assured me it would be there on time. I understand that things happen (weather, traffic, etc). I wasn’t asking for a refund or even a discount. I wasn’t demanding to speak with the manager. I just wanted someone to know what happened.

But instead of an apology of even an “I understand,” I was met with what I felt was defensive and even aggressive behavior. The agent told me there was “Nothing we can do, ma’am.” I was livid!

Say it, Mean it

Effective customer service representatives always communicate with the customer in mind.

This doesn’t mean pandering or patronizing, and it doesn’t mean always caving in, or accepting a customer’s potentially disrespectful or angry language or behavior. Instead, it just means “putting yourself in their shoes,” and reacting and serving them the way you would want to be treated.

Not My Problem

In most cases, when you apologize, the other person will say that it’s okay, or will at least accept your apology. They just want you to acknowledge their feelings and concerns. If you completely ignore the situation — or worse, decide to confront or humiliate them — that’s when their basic “fight or flight” instincts kick in, and that’s when the situation needlessly escalates.

Customer service is an art form. I realize that these agents deal with some pretty difficult people every day. But don’t take out your aggression towards the last guy out on me. Each situation is unique, and needs to be treated as such.

by Liu Q.L.
Residential Life Magazine

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