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What to do and what not to do

Welcome to a new year and decade!

We start with a cautionary tale of what not to do in customer service.  We found this through the website Consumerist, which aims to present the customer’s side of the story, especially when there is a problem. The power of Consumerist is that many, many people visit this site, especially if they are doing research.

Although Consumerist relays many stories, here is one that shows that what customer service should not do.  A shopper writes in to Consumerist complaining about Best Buy and his broken netbook computer. Here’s a summary:

The anonymous Best Buy Netbook buyer who says was thrown out of the store twice when he tried to get the store to honor his protection plan checked in with an update: Best Buy won’t replace his netbook as a CSR originally promised, it will only service it.

The problem is that the customer service representative promised to do something that the store is not willing to honor, in this case replace rather than repair a computer. There are many ramifications from this. First, the customer is not happy because he is not getting what he is promised. He makes his unhappiness public, which further hurts the store. Second, when you don’t trust CSRs to fix a problem then you are reducing their ability to be effective. Third, the store policy overrides the CSR,  taking out the human element and resulting in dissatisfaction.

In customer service, do not take away power from your representative. Give the representative the ability to solve problems to the customer’s liking, and make sure that the representative’s  prescription will not cause problems later on.

On the other hand, we also found a wonderful story about excellent customer service. It comes from Terry Starbucker’s blog and relays an experience he had a story in Paris where a produce shop keeper went above and beyond, providing not only the nicest looking produce, but wonderful service. Some of the service essentials that Starbucker points out are:

  • Proper greeting
  • Respect
  • Positive attitude

Starbucker says  he was so happy he did not paying more money!  Here’s the link.


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