So much of customer service has come down to, “We really apologize for your inconvenience, but there’s nothing we can do.”
Now, give the CSRs credit. They used to tell you with a cynical sneer, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you.” There was no “sorry” in the sorry. Now, they are much better. You can almost hear the George Jones cry in their voice. It’s kind of nice. It feels empathetic. It’s better than what we had.
But it’s still not customer service.
In personal relationships, as in business, we have to ask for what we want, or suffer what we get. I’ve had it. Just today, I let the good people at my bank know, after the third apology, that I would not brook a fourth. They were late with something I needed, and they couldn’t overnight it because it wasn’t part of the way they handled things. I told him, “Neglecting sending in my paperwork also wasn’t part of the way you handle things, but you made an exception for that.” I said, “Look. Banks are supposed to be competing for business and doing it through service. Good customer service isn’t just being really, really nice. It’s going out of your way. It’s bringing the damn thing to the post office yourself, if there’s no way to do it internally. So, please don’t tell me you’re sorry. Tell me you’ll fix it, or at least let give me the satisfaction of getting off the phone dissatisfied and properly pissed off.”
In personal relationships, as in business, sometimes making up for a mistake means going out of your way.
The CSR talked to his supervisor and lo and behold, they are overnighting my documents. I hope it’s not just because I was willing to be a jerk. I hope I actually made a difference in the CSR’s experience of what’s possible. That was always my greater intention.
We settle for crap customer service in this country and we settle for crap relationships.
Let’s be responsible for turning them both around. Let’s speak up. Let’s not be satisfied with, “I’ve done all I can do.” That’s just never true.