February 25, 2005

Gotta Get This Out of My System

As most of you know, I'm big on good customer service. I demand it. I expect it. And I usually get it. I don't leave much room for anything else.

I learned this from watching other people interact and from being on the other side of customer service for years.

I treat people the way I expect to be treated myself. I love it when someone makes me smile. I am thrilled when someone makes me laugh. If you can get me to giggle - I'm yours! It's about spreading the joy! Plain and simple.

But on the flip side......please don't take your bad day out on me. It's not my fault. Don't automatically assume I'm there to cause a problem or that I will be nasty to you out the gate.

And if you are rude to me........lets just say that is a whole 'nother ballgame. If you have the audacity to actually snarl, growl, or bitch at me when I am the customer I'm gonna go off on you. Make no mistake about it. I will dress you down in such a manner that YOU WILL NOT FORGET ME! And I don't mean for good reasons. Case in point - Pep Boys. They have a file on me...seems they think I'm a "difficult customer". The only reason for that is I got crappy customer service, they were rude and didn't stand behind their work. They have since redeemed themselves and we are all happy again. They like me, I like them - all is right with the world. But I won't deal with the jerk I had back in April. I may forgive - but I sure don't forget.

But I digress....this is about being treated the way you expect to be treated. Here's my secret. When conducting business face to face I always look 'em in the eye. I smile. I greet them nicely. Then the ball is in their court. If they come back rude or less than I greeted them I'll cock an eyebrow or tilt my head with a questioning look on my face. That ususally does the trick. If not - well......I've been known to actually say - "Sorry you're having a bad day, but is any of that my fault?" That pretty well stops them in their tracks. I think my all time favorite response to crappy customer service is from LeeAnn. I can soooo relate!!

On the flip side - this post by Koolaid really gets my goat. Customers that think they are above the rules, believe that they deserve "special treatment" just make me crazy.

Here's what really got me cranked up this morning. I get a call at 8:00am from the company that carries my car loan. Seems when they tried to process my payment it came back saying the account has been closed. WTF?!?!? I have more money in there right now then I have ever had (it's been a good month for mattresses). I was just at the local branch yesterday getting cash for last night. It Can't Be Closed!

I call the bank. They were just as sweet as can be. I started out introducing myself and apologizing because I was a bit freaked out. The guy actually chuckled and told me to "exhale". I did - we looked into the situation. No problem. I've got money, the account is open. There was no record of the payment being submitted or rejected. Hmmmmm....probably a data entry error on the part of the company requesting payment. I can understand that - don't like it, but I understand it.

Call the loan company back. No-it's not our problem. YOU have to fix this. FIX WHAT?!?! The money is there.....the bank is waiting.....reprocess the payment. Nope. Can't do that. You have to come in and bring cash. THEY ARE IN TAMPA! I AM GOING TO DAYTONA! I try to explain, still being firm yet nice. No go.

BUT...if they don't get the payment they will have to come and get the car.

The gloves come off. My voice gets soft....I want them to strain to hear. I make sure I speak slowly - no misunderstanding allowed at this point.

ME: I am unable to make the trip to pay this in person. I have researched this matter and there is no error on my part or the part of the bank. The only weak link here is YOU and YOUR COMPANY. This is what I'm gonna need for you to do.....put me through to your supervisor. Immediately.


ME: (recapping situation) NOW.....I have done all that I can possibly do to make this clear to you all. I have recorded this conversation (not) and have documentation from my bank that there has been no request for payment on my account in the past 10 days. This is NOT my problem. YOU WILL reprocess this payment immediately, there will be no record of late payment on my account and I DO NOT want to have this discussion again.

I just checked. The payment went through 5 mins ago.

Anyway - here's the core of my semi-rant today. Be nice when you are the customer, remember the people on the other end of the phone or the other side of the counter are human beings. They have rules to follow and lives outside of their job (unless they are me!) BUT.....do NOT allow them to treat you in any other way than professionally. Many in customer service get off on the power trip of thinking they are in control.

BUT......if you are in customer service - remember it's called CUSTOMER SERVICE for a reason. Be polite. Always - you know that scene from Road House....be nice until you just can't be nice anymore...than be nice. It's the crappy part of the job. It's the part the sucks. But it's part of the job. Follow the rules that your company has in place, but explain that...and offer to transfer them to someone of authority. If that happens to be you - I'm sorry. I've been there....but it's part of the job. If they get out of control - you CAN and SHOULD terminate the conversation. NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO BE ABUSIVE!

If I could accomplish anything in this life it would be to just get people to be polite to each other. If we just treat each other the way we want to be treated, use a little respect, things would be much nicer. **takes another tote off magic pipe** I'd like to teach the world to sing!

OK-now I've got to get on the road. I really feel sorry for anyone that decides to take me on today!

Posted by Tammi at February 25, 2005 10:09 AM

As soon as they heard

"This is what I'm gonna need for you to do..."

they should've been sweating bullets. *grin* I agree completely with you. It's not always the customer's fault nor is it always the fault of those providing the service - but people never seem to treat each other with respect anymore.

Posted by: Teresa at February 25, 2005 10:31 AM

I have been on both sides of the fence. I know what good customer service is and isn't.

I know that people that work the phones may have just gotten off the phone with some who was making dipareging remarks about their mother, but they shouldn't take it out on me.

If you do, then well, you just gave me a license to be rude back to you.

I haven't got thrown out of 3 dealerships for flirting ya know.

Posted by: Machelle at February 25, 2005 11:21 AM

Did you "lower" your voice? :-D

Posted by: Harvey at February 25, 2005 11:50 AM

She's mine, she's mine! ;)

This is why I don't work in customer service, sales, or pretty much anything having to do with people. I am not a people person.

Posted by: Ogre at February 25, 2005 12:21 PM

That reminds me of the fun I had with the phone company. Ugly rude people.

Posted by: _Jon at February 25, 2005 01:53 PM

I actually took a class on "Exellence in Customer Service". The one thing I always remembered is don't tell the customer that you can't do something, or you don't know; if isn't in your power to fix it or you have no answer, boot the customer on up to the next supervisor. (After all that is what they're paid the bigger bucks for.) Of course, this assume you have a supervisor who will take phone calls. I worked for one who wouldn't. Boy is that a pain in the ass.

By the way, maybe your blog should just be "Tammi the Warrior"; don't ever let me get on your bad side! :)

Posted by: TNT at February 25, 2005 02:54 PM