Customer Service – Two Issues

What do you think of customer service these days?  Well, there are a couple of issues that I feel are worth mentioning.

Before I go into the issues, you need to understand a definition of customer service.  This is hard… “To Serve The Customer.”

The First Issue – I’m not really talking about customer service at a place like Walmart… where there is virtually zero customer service.  In fact I would rate Walmart with a negative factor because it becomes a point of being rude. That’s one reason I like Target.  Not that they are perfect, but at least they’re friendly and “serve” the customer.  Walmart just plain sucks.  It’s another reason why I don’t mind spending more money at a place like Macy’s or Nordstroms.  They “serve.”  You feel appreciated.

I’ve had the same experiences online.  Take ebay for example.  Some sellers are worse than Walmart.  They have no customerservice.gifappreciation that you just spent your money to buy their product.  On the other hand, you get someone who writes a nice letter, communicates well, and serves the customer. 

The Second Issue – The customer has a responsibility too.  When I lived in Kenya I used to hate to see these Indian customers (people from India) just belittle and abuse the merchant they were buying from.  They would take pleasure in making life Hell for the employee, treating them worse than dogs, and expecting that the employee was always supposed to submit.  It was a disgrace.  The Indians somehow thought their money made them a higher level of humanity.

Let me tell you something, whoever said “The customer is always right” didn’t know what they were talking about.  I’ve never believed that.  Basically I have a policy that I will be nobody’s doormat.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  If I made a mistake, I will correct my error and give back to the customer 110% so they know they are appreciated.  I do have a job in serving the customer, but the days of slavery are over

Do I serve the customer?  You bet I do.  I think that is one of the things I do best.  But, I don’t take any crap from customers either.  I realize some people have bad days – that is a given in our world, but that isn’t a license to abuse either.  If the customer is wrong, and they want to put the blame on the merchant so they can save face, pass the buck, or do a Roger Clemens where they feel they are above reproach (look up the word “impenouchable” in Google and see what you find), well, I don’t play that game.

Another thing, while I serve the customer, I am not a coddler or hand holder either.  I have worked hard at providing a full web site with all the details of what products I offer.  One of the phone calls I hate the most is when someone asks, “What kind of leads do you have?”  It’s on the site!

Online customer service is not the same as regular customer service.  If I worked at Nordstroms, I would be glad to show you around.  That would be my job.  Online, it’s another story.

So, two issues – expect good customer “serve”-ice, but understand that customers have a responsibility to all the other person to be human and respect them as a person.  Online, it comes from customers making demands, typing in all caps, bolding and underlining, pointing out all that is wrong, and using words and a tone in the email that puts the customer in a place of superiority, giving them their self-righteous attitude where they begin abusing the online merchant.

I love, appreciate, and respect my customers, and I expect it in return.  If someone feels like they need to act like one of the Indians from Kenya, they can take their business elsewhere because I don’t need it.

Now that I’ve ranted on a bit, it’s because one such customer wrote me with such a similar email, blaming, demanding, all caps, bolds, etc.  She was so arrogant.  The fact is, she was the one at fault.  She ordered the wrong leads and made it my fault.  I told her that I would be more than happy to correct things, but I also pointed out to her what had really happened.  I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe she was having a bad day. 

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