Want Better Customer Service? Be A Better Customer!

It’s probably safe to say that at some point in your life, you have been the recipient of less than stellar customer service.  It’s also probably safe to say that if you have worked in the customer service industry for any period of time, there was at least one time when you were not 100% on your game, and your service level slipped.  C’mon, you can admit it (just don’t let it be a habit!).

As the title of this post suggests, I think that as consumers, we have a big impact on the kind of service we receive.

I think it helps to think of the person on the other side of the counter or the telephone as a person.  Despite what we may be thinking when they tell us something we don’t want to hear, they are still a person with feelings, fears, emotions, a family, possibly pets, a life outside of work… not to mention their own set of personal issues they may be dealing with.

I know a very popular sentiment (especially in the amusement park business) is that when we are working with the public, we should leave our own problems at home… forget about them while at work because ultimately, that guest in front of you just wants their food when it’s hot, and they aren’t concerned with the fact that your hamster got stuck in the Habitrail this morning.

While I do believe our guests deserve our best, I don’t know how realistic it is for most people to flip a switch and NOT think about what they have to deal with (or are looking forward to) when they get home.

Where I think we sometimes go wrong as consumers is that we get stuck with the labels associated with doing business.  We are customers or guests, and they are employees, staff, or the help.  It’s almost as if from the get-go we are setting up an adversarial relationship.  I know people who believe that people in customer service roles are essentially lower life forms, and he/she treats them accordingly.  What do you think his/her view of modern customer service is?  Yep, bottom of the barrel.

When I talk to people about how THEY provide service, most say things like, “I love helping people who are nice.  I would bend over backwards for them.  But start yelling at me, you won’t get anything!”

With this is mind, here is what I would suggest.  Be nice to people.  Notice I didn’t say “employees” or “staff”, but people.  Dare I say treat them the way you would want to be treated?

What are your thoughts?

4 thoughts on “Want Better Customer Service? Be A Better Customer!

  1. I agree with you, but I will add this. Society has taught many consumers that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. So I have found that many people believe that they have to yell and scream to get their way. (They would be choosing “option 3” in your cartoon) Many times, unfortunately, this DOES get them what they want.

    • You are right about what society has learned, and there are definitely those who can work the system. I’m reading an interesting book right now called the 4 hour workweek and it talks about firing unruly and time-wasting customers. It’s an odd concept when you think that we are trying to ATTRACT as many customers as possible, but just think about how productive you could be if you eliminated (not literally!) your most painful customer interactions. More time to spend with the people who are actually spending money and WANTING to have a good time. It’s an interesting take…

  2. I 100% agree that we should rememer that everyone we come into contact with are people with their own issues, problems and bad days. It’s not what we want to think about or consider when “I” or “Me” is the one having a bad experience, but just think what a nicer world this would be if everybody adhered to the “Golden Rule!”

  3. Pingback: Is Bad Service Your Fault? « LeaderTips

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