On my very first blog I started a segment called “Mind Your Biz”. My plan was to share about my experience in business and customer service over the last 26 years. I didn’t make the time to develop it and it died a quick and efficient death. It’s not the first dumb thing I’ve ever done, and it certainly won’t be the last. At the prompting of friends, I am here to attempt a resurrection.
What you need to know is that I didn’t just drop out of the sky to write about customer service and business because all the cool kids are doing it. It’s what I do for a living and people tell me I’m pretty good at it.
My background is customer service management and operations management in manufacturing. I have worked in equipment, packaging and textiles in both the corporate and private sectors. I’m not normally a name dropper but some of my key accounts may or may not have rhymed with slate and carol, gnome hopping petwork, bowes, Kary May… you get the point.. Enough about me, what do you think of me…
So without further ado here’s the first post. Buen provecho!
Operations Management by definition is creating practices to run at maximum efficiency. But when it’s within a small business, you’re not sitting in an office working it out on spreadsheets. You’re in the thick of things, touching EVERY aspect of the operation and you better know your crap.
IMHO the heartbeat of every business is customer service. Period. I see the operation as a person. The sales team is the head, production is the body and customer service is the heart. Rip your heart out and see what happens! What I have learned over time is that by being a good customer, we become better customer service providers. Hmmm, is that right? It sounded so much more profound in my head.
Anyway… Here’s how I’m looking at it. Take a poor customer service experience and think about how you would have liked to have been serviced. Apply that to the customer service YOU provide.
How do you feel when you call somewhere and the attendant sounds like they’re half in the bag? How do you feel when you call somewhere and get transferred ten times? How do you feel when you’re trying to explain your issue and the person may as well be on Mars? How do you feel when you don’t receive a return call or email? Right? Well, don’t do that!
1. Be friendly, happy and efficient when you answer a call. No. Matter. What.
2. The customer is NOT always right but they don’t have to know that. Giving stuff away is not always the answer or a good precedent. YOUR JOB is to make them feel resolved within policy.
3. Don’t “pretend” to listen. Pay attention and start to think about how to help so you can both get on with your lives. Make. Notes.
4. Don’t make disingenuous remarks or silly small talk. It’s annoying. I’d rather be on hold or silent while you work on my issue. Especially if I’m already upset.
5. If you say you’re going to call back. CALL.BACK! Call even if to say the issue is taking longer to handle than expected. I think Tom Petty said it best…. “The way-ay-ting is hardessst part”.
6. If you don’t know, say so! “I’m not sure – I will need a bit to look into that for you”. Get the answer and call back ASAP.
Closing Rant Tip: Many sales/training seminars will tell you to use a client’s name with frequency in order to remember it and make a personal connection. A vendor rep did that to me once. I feel like she said my name a hundred million times in one hour. That was two years ago and I’m STILL talking about it. Don't do that.