"As water reflects the face, so one's life reflects the heart" ~Proverbs 27:19

What Ever Happened to Customer Service?

posted by J. Amendt Eickman on , , ,

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"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echos are truly endless."

~ Mother Teresa 

I came up the ranks, at my last company, via the dreaded Customer Service department...gasp! Looking back, it really wasn't all that bad. I learned many valuable lessons and made some life long friends along the way.

At the time though, I was miserable. I dreaded the 35 minute commute, being plugged into a phone the entire day, losing call-time for bathroom breaks (what can I say, I'm competitive and wanted to take the most calls in a day), being micro-managed, being graded on my calls, and getting yelled at by customers for things that I could not control. 

I am truly thankful for the 2 years I spent in Customer Service. (This will probably come as a complete shock to my parents) I am thankful because it gave me perspective of both sides of the phone, computer, counter or isle. It taught me patience, grace, sincerity, respect and made me think quick on my feet. It also gave me a glimpse into the life of customers and how people treat other humans.

Since those days, I've tried my hardest to give Customer Service Reps or store clerks my respect and a bit more patience, because I know the beating they can go through every day. 

Yet, I still wonder whatever happened to true Customer Service? I'm sure I'm not the only person out there who hates talking to an automated voice (who never quite understands me) or pressing buttons to get me to a department that is inevitably the wrong area. Or how about applying for a job directly through a company, and NEVER knowing what happened to your resume. No acknowledgement, not even a "Dear John." Or how about the clerk at a well known pharmacy/convenience store who responds to a question on where a product might be found, "I have no idea" and then walks away. (True story that happened to me 2 weeks ago!)

Enough of the negative though, Chara is about JOY and I want to share an article with you that I came upon today! Please take the time to read it, and scroll through a couple of the user comments below. It will hopefully brighten your day, as it did mine.  11 Best Customer Service Stories Ever

I'd like to leave you with a positive story I had last week with Blue Cross Blue Shield. I thankfully made it through the automated system to what, of course, was the wrong department, but the lady on the phone told me that she would do a warm transfer! YAY! I didn't have to go through the security questions again! She was so sweet and got me to the right area in no time. 

The second lady on the line was extremely nice and patient with me, as I had some questions about our prescription insurance. We were on the phone for probably 10 minutes talking about the plan and a certain prescription I wanted more information on. At the end of the call she told me "You seem like such a nice lady! I'm so glad you called in today!" I think my jaw dropped, and I stuttered out "Thank you! You've been so kind and so helpful!"

As I write this post today though, I wonder if she told me that I was a nice lady because I may have been the only voice on the line that day that laughed with her. That told her thank you. That appreciated her. That acknowledged that she was a human being. That made her smile.

So as you go about your day today, really look at the person behind the cash register. She may be someone who needs a smile. Truly thank the person you get on the phone after a 30 minute hold--really it's not in their control-- and he may have just gotten screamed at mere minutes ago by a disgruntled caller.

Yes, there are times we get less than adequate Customer Service, but remember we, as the customers, can only control how WE treat the people we come into contact with each day!

I wish to you all a sunny and joyful day my friend!

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