If someone had to crown the “toughest job” title to a single position, it would probably be awarded to every employee that is on the front lines with customers. It’s not possible to please everybody, but it’s always awesome to see the rock stars that try!
Of course every company claims to prioritize customer service– which is not always the case– but recently I have had a string of extremely pleasantinteractions with customer service reps. As someone who has worked in customer service (now I sit safely behind a marketing desk), I can say firsthand it’s not easy!
I like to think that I’m not the only person out there who makes bonehead mistakes like sending an email to the wrong person. I happened to be sending links to some shoes I was wearing for another employee to purchase. Naturally, in my bi-pedal excitement I misaddressed the email to go to the FreshBooks marketing team. Because FreshBooks is one of Shoeboxed’s great partners, I couldn’t pretend like it never happened– they knew who I was. After drafting an apology email, I was elated to receive an amusing email from Rob at FreshBooks who gave me the thumbs up on my shoe selection!
Rob could have ignored my clearly mislabeled email; he could have given me the standard, “No worries. Have a nice day.” Instead he sent me a link to a pair of leopard wedges. Not only did this make me feel better about my ditzy mistake, but also gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling about Rob and FreshBooks as a company. Congrats, Freshbooks– if I ever need invoices, I’ll be coming your way thanks to Rob! (This is not the view of my company but a personal opinion, or whatever everyone says on Twitter).
Have you ever had to cargo something to Australia? Me neither. So when my task was to prep three duffels of Shoeboxed Magic Envelopes to send to our Australian office, I didn’t know where to start. Thanks to Joann and the fabulous team at UPS for not making me feel stupid when I was filing paperwork and cluttering their inbox with what felt like hundreds of emails. Not only were they helpful on the business end, but the employee that came and helped me load the bags was so friendly and knowledgeable. Watch out FedEx, I might become a loyalist! (Again: personal opinion.)
While I was lucky to encounter rock star employees at FreshBooks and UPS, we all know this is not always the case. But as a customer it’s important to remember that customer service reps are not human punching bags. It can be all too easy to let your frustrations out on them. Here are some points that might seem obvious, but they can be easy to forget in the heat of the moment!
1. They are doing their job.
You have to remember that these people are paid to listen to people like you. They understand your frustrations; they’ve heard it three hundred times from other customers. Remeber that asking for a manager is not always your best option: it’s likely that they will say the same thing because they trained their employees to answer questions uniformly.
2. If they could give you what you’re asking for, they would.
Sometimes it’s not easy being told no. It is also not easy telling someone no. Keep this in mind before you raise your voice or berate them. They also can’t just give you anything you want; they don’t set the rules, the company does.
3. They are real people… with real feelings!
This is the hardest thing to keep in mind when you are furious with a company. It’s not the representative you’re angry at: it is the situation. So reign in that knee-jerk angry response and keep your blood from boiling, not only because it will not solve the problem, but also because name-calling and verbal abuse is never appropriate (or good for your health).
What it comes down to is treating people politely and with respect. Ruining someone else’s day doesn’t make your day any better. And if it does, you’d probably be great friends with Darth Vader, Voldemort or Scrooge.
There is something to be said for killing with kindness. If that doesn’t work and you’re still not happy, break up with the company. After all, it is a relationship. If you’re not a satisfied customer, leave! You’ll feel better about where you are putting your money and the company will likely be relieved as well. Remember, it’s awesome people behind companies that really make the customer experience. As a customer I can appreciate being killed with kindness or even shoe suggestions. In a competitive world, I’ll work with a company that has real people with real personalities any day!
….Just remind me that next time I need to interact with my mobile provider.