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a blog by Don R. Crawley

Keynote Speaker on
IT Customer Service and Compassion

Bringing humanity into the world of technology

CALL: (206) 988-5858


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I recently changed health insurance plans. My neighborhood pharmacy is covered by my new plan. I like to support local businesses and I know the owner of the shop, so I was excited to get my first prescription filled.

I stopped in to pick up my prescription and told the owner of the change in insurance plans and that I would be getting my prescriptions from him.

My doctor’s office had already called in the prescription, so it should have been ready. There was no one else in line, so I should have been able to walk in, get the prescription, and leave. It should have taken five minutes, 10 at the most. Instead, he started complaining about his business, insurance companies, and his big competitors. I certainly understand the frustrations of running a small business, but he went on and on and on. The more he talked, the more I just wanted to get out of there! It was becoming depressing. Finally, after about 20 minutes, he finally got my prescription ready and I was able to leave. I was exhausted from the negativity. I went from “excited to be there” to “can’t wait to get out of here”.

A new coffee shop opened not far from my house. I heard they had good coffee and I was excited to try it. (I live in Seattle. Coffee is a big deal here!) I stopped in to get a latte. There was one person ahead of me and the owner was the barista. As the other customer was waiting for him to make her drink, he started complaining about city hall, government regulations, his business, and a multitude of other problems he was facing. It took him 10 minutes to prepare the first customer’s drink because he kept stopping to complain about how bad things were for him. You could see in her face how his negativity was bringing her down. It was happening to me, too, and he hadn’t even taken my order yet. What should have been a five to ten minute stop for me turned into 20 minutes of depressing negativity. Again, I went from “excited to be there” to “can’t wait to get out of here”.

In both the pharmacy and the coffee shop, the owners cast a cloak of dread over what should have been a positive and uplifting experience. And in both cases, I made the decision to take my business elsewhere. It’s much like when you go to a restaurant and servers way over-disclose, telling you all the bad things that are happening in their life. Customer service is all about providing a great customer experience. That means keeping your customer interactions positive and upbeat. To quote Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, “No whining, no complaining, and no excuses.”

End-users and other customers are not there to provide a shoulder for you to cry on, they’re there to receive the products and/or services you offer in a timely and professional manner. Anything less results in lost business or bad evaluations. Whether you’re with an MSP, a corporate IT department, a call center, or any other type of customer service provider, your end-users and other customers expect and deserve a great experience which means you act in a friendly and professional manner all the time.

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