Kathryn Thorn 2m 581 #customerservice
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
If you have been in Customer care, or customer services, you would have definitely heard that one of the major questions that are asked by the young professionals, is, “Are Customers Always Right?” The fact is, everyone has his/her own perception when it comes to customer service and one rule can’t be applied to all circumstances and industries.
Keep the word “Perception” in mind, most of the things you read online about Customer Service are just perceptions and things are quite different most of the times when you actually go to the field and deal with the customers.
I would like to iterate a short story here to make my point clear. Shortly after the 9/11 incident took place, I was going to New York through Dubai. But for some reason, the connecting flight in Dubai was delayed, and the reason given to us was the security arrangements that were being employed in New York Airport. The Flight path from Dubai to New York was also changed. The reactions we saw from the customers at the Dubai Airport was all interesting and worth watching (especially for students of Customer Service Courses).
It was quite evident to assume that the customer care staff of the airline was properly trained to handle such situations and they were smart enough to tackle the customers with ultimate calmness. The staff was apologizing for the delay, showing their empathy to the passengers, they were offering the customers with all the choices they had to solve problems of at least some customers. These were few essential skills that every customer support person should possess to be successful in this highly dynamic field.
The basic training of customer contact courses in Canberra starts with putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and offer them anything and everything that you have to give them the maximum comfort possible. E.g. at that point of time the airline offered Free Accommodation and meal to passengers who were going to wait overnight to catch the next flight. These are the situations where we, as Customer Service Trainers believe that our efforts are well compensated.
I was able to talk to quite a few passengers and inquire them about how they felt about the customer service. The responses were quite surprising for me as most people said things like, “The incident in itself is a disgrace for the airline, even though the customer service is quite adept at facilitating the customers, but this incident shouldn’t have occurred in the first place.” This caused a lot of passengers in feeling reluctant to use that airline again ever in the future.
At that point of time, I learned two things about the customer behavior. The fact that nearly all the customers received the same customer service, but all of them had different perceptions about the customer service and the company in general, made me realize that the customer service training should be focused on two things rather than one. First being the customer service from the customer service staff and the second one being the training of the specific operations to ensure that the mishaps like the one discussed above does not happen in time to come. Only if a company maximizes their growth in both the fields, then they can have 100% customer satisfaction rate.
Kathryn Thorn is a librarian and advocate of continuous education. She writes for the local paper and is currently taking up a business course in Sydney.