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A Customer’s Guide to Customer Service

May 20th, 2009

customer-service-rating-guide.jpgEvery business claims to have superior, top-notch customer service, but those long winded speeches, letters, and advertisements fail to take into consideration the most important thing. People work for those companies, and people aren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

Go to any corporate website and read their pages about customer service or support. Ignore the fifty pages of fine print which appears on a different page, and actually read their customer service goals. If any company could actually deliver that level of service, without raising prices astronomically, they’d have run all their competition out of business already. In other words, they are too good to be true.

Keep in mind that the regular employees who also read those customer service guidelines know there’s no earthly way to accomplish them all, all the time. Employees on the store floor level actually know what their customers are like, and are constantly in contact with them. Just remember that those employees are regular people too, just like their customers.

The people who actually write up those lofty customer service goals are usually people who have never had to actually deal, or work with customers. Even the ones who have probably haven’t dealt with them in years. These people make a lot of money to portray the company as being better than the people who work for it.

Some of you are probably thinking, “What about all those stores who make us wait forever in line?”

There is a difference between honestly trying to help your customers, and having three of twenty check-out lines open with seventeen employees standing around doing nothing. Those three people who are working the check-out lines are people too. They have personality quirks, may hate their job, or are angry at the company. They’re thinking about shopping for their families, but they’re stuck at a check-out which may not even be their job.

So, don’t take your anger out on the person who’s actually trying to help you. They usually aren’t involved in the decision making process of the company, and they are people after all. That old saying about treating others how you would like to be treated absolutely applies here.

Would you want to help someone whose first words to you were complaints about you? Would you be able to hold back your anger if someone yelled at you about things you have no control over? So why would you expect this of the store level people?

Put those outsourced call centers out of your mind completely. They are a different aspect of customer service all together. An outsourced call center’s job is to discourage customers from pursuing their claim, or to lessen the company’s liability by offering the customers platitudes and apologies. Non-outsourced call centers are usually understaffed, and the people working them have no more power in the decision making process than the store level employees do. They too have a script usually written by someone who has never had to work with actual customers.

If the service and products are truly bad, you can take your business elsewhere. That’s what it means to live in a free market society. The whole purpose of a free market is to encourage competition between businesses. Those who can’t compete either change their policies and employees, or they go out of business.

With the introduction of online shopping, you have even more options than ever. The human factor has been taken out of the equation. You just have to be more careful in what you buy. If the product is faulty, or it’s the wrong product, you’ll still have to deal with those call centers to return or exchange the items.

The conclusion is simple. Don’t take your anger out on people who are genuinely trying to help, and don’t feel like you “have” to buy their products or services. You are the master, and they are the servant. If one servant doesn’t serve you well, then you get another. Anything else is just inviting stress into your life.


Barry Davidson is a freelance writer for Constant Content who has produced a total of 88 articles on various topics.


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