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A Sound-Off on Customer Service

Customer Service is something I have been practicing and learning about since my first working days in the world of retail.  It’s been on my mind lately and many of us in business  find ourselves both on the giving and receiving ends of it.  Whatever your occupation, I don’t have to tell you there is a lot of competition out there.

It may surprise you to know how often a potential client will thank me profusely for showing up or even simply returning a phone call.  The first lesson in surpassing your competitors is just be present and responsive, it’s not rocket science peeps!  I understand we get busy at times or there are snafus that we dread confronting clients about but believe me, a little communication goes a long way.  It’s being in the dark and not knowing that makes people more nervous.

Another thought is perhaps we can see ourselves on the “same team”.   Our goal is for a positive transaction, otherwise known as a “win-win”. Don’t let  a loop hole of corporate policy make your customer a victim causing you to lose all potential future business in the process.  In my experience banks, insurance companies and cell phone providers have a lot to learn in this area.  For example, let’s say you awake at eleven o’clock remembering that your mortgage payment must be in before the witching hour, you scurry over to the lap top, do the deed and fall promptly back to sleep, $35 dollar late fee averted…But it wasn’t. So there you are on “phone hell” trying to talk to a human so you can explain the situation and that you really did pay on time, like each and every month.  It doesn’t work with Ocwen financial corporation, by the way.  Sometimes peeps just need to feel like they got a break and that the companies they choose to do business with have their back.

On the flip side I had a great experience recently as well.  I made a purchase from an advertisement on line.  The item was delivered quickly and although it was pretty inexpensive, I was dismayed to discover it wasn’t at all what I ordered.  I was ready to write it off but thought I would give it the old college try anyway.  To my surprise and delight they were very responsive and apologetic, not the least bit defensive.  I thought they would tell me that each item was different and, for the price, wouldn’t necessarily match what was pictured.  But no, they sent me a new one, express delivery and insisted I keep the incorrect version for my trouble.  Now that is customer service and you can bet I will always say good things about Ashley Bridget.  They have won my loyalty.

A very cool bracelet similar to the one I got from Ashley Bridget and no, I don’t know a thing about Harry Potter, I just thought it was very cool.
A very cool bracelet similar to the one I got from Ashley Bridget and no, I don’t know a thing about Harry Potter, I just thought it was very cool.

Speaking of the internet, social media gives us a great opportunity to show who we are in terms of customer service not only through positive mentions on FaceBook and Twitter but with negative ones as well.  I want to see how a company responds to criticism and if they take it as an opportunity to hone their customer service skills.  Thanks for reading my “sound off”.  Sometimes I must vent!  How about you?  Do you agree?   I’d love to hear your views and experiences.  Is the customer always right?

Gloria Graham-Sollecito

Gloria is a kitchen and bath cabinetry designer with AKBD certification from the National Kitchen & Bath Association. She has also served on the Florida Treasure Coast Chapter's Board of Directors as the VP of Communications. Her work has appeared on This Old House as well as in Florida Design Magazine, K+BB Magazine and the Palm Beach Post. She is co-author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Remodeling Your Kitchen, Illustrated, as well as a freelanced writer contributing occasionally to the Sun Sentinel in the area of kitchen design. She is a proud member of the Blanco Design Council and the illustrious Brizo Blogger 19.

Comments

Linda Merrill
Reply

Many companies are shockingly devoid of good customer service. I just had a situation with Kravet Fabrics today. The customer service person actually said “well I didn’t do it”. Geez. Meanwhile, I tweeted Kravet Fabrics while on hold and have not received a response. And it’s not the first time. They clearly really don’t care about monitoring their social media unless it’s gaining them positive press. Good post!!

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