We’ve all had bad experiences with customer service yet we still expect them to be great each time we call. I’m not saying that we should expect the worst, but maybe we should think of the following things before getting angry, frustrated, or homicidal (as someone said at the CRMe10 conference yesterday):
• The customer service representative is not the owner of the company and most of the time follows the instructions he or she is given, even when they do not make sense—shooting the messenger will probably not be noticed by the decision makers who could improve the services you’re receiving and helps no one
• If customer service representatives are putting you on hold or transferring you to another department, it is mostly because they don’t know what to do, not because they’re lazy or not willing to help. Getting furious doesn’t help—trying to understand what’s going on or getting a supervisor on the phone might.
• Non-motivated customer service representatives will rarely do a great job! Would you? Of course, you cannot know whether or not they’re motivated, but keep this in mind as a possible answer to their inefficiency.
• Customer service representatives are not waiting for your call and may be working on several issues at the same time. They will establish priorities and your problem might not be as important as someone else’s.
Most people talking and writing about customer service do it from a customer’s perspective, but I know these things because I worked in customer service and I can tell you that the most frustrating thing is to want to help and not be able to do it.
In conclusion, remember that in order to “humanize” the customer service experience, we need humans on both sides of the phone. Being human means tolerance, which means that unless you’re losing a lot of money as a result of the issue you’re calling for or you life is in danger, you really have no reason to be “homicidal” while interacting with customer service.
These things are all true just on a “civility” level, but sometimes (and we’ve all had this experience), you just really get the impression that the customer service representative does not value their job. Why should I make an effort to “understand” if they are “not motivated”? Shouldn’t being employed be motivation enough?
Good point - in my opinion, just being employed can be a motivation only if you like your job or if you’re really desperate and would get any job.
Unfortunately, many people don’t like their jobs and understanding that can make the interaction between customers and customer service better, which eventually benefits both sides.