The Lost Art of Customer Service

When I was considering my blog topic for tonight, I thought that I should write about something more personal.  The thing is… I take customer service very personally.  These days, you can buy or sell anything on-line.  They are converting to order taking robots at McDonald’s.  I saw a vending machine with iPads and iPhones in it.  Is customer service dead?  Are we programmed not to care about our buying experience anymore?

I spoke with my prescription drug company recently.  I had a credit card on file with them.   They could charge whatever medication they sent out, rather than sending invoices to pay.  So, my credit card was compromised, and had to be replaced.  When I saw that I had a balance with them, I called their customer service to straighten it out.  Of course, I get the automated menu.  I’ve learned what to say when they ask you to state why you are calling.  I just say “customer service” repeatedly, and it gets you to a human faster.  Bottom line… you have to trick a machine in order to speak with someone.

I told the representative about my card.  I let them know that I was calling to pay my balance and add the new card for future payments.  He says “Okay, I’m going to try to add that card.  Usually, it doesn’t let you change cards if you have a balance.”  I asked him “Well, how will I pay my balance if you won’t take my new card information?”  That stumped him for a minute, and he put me on hold so he could speak with his supervisor.  Then he came back on the line, and the two of them had decided that they would work it out for me.  Wow!  I’m pleased to report that all is well now, but what a cluster!

I had a beautiful online experience recently with a company called Brighton.  I purchased a lanyard from them that I really loved.

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So, when it arrived, ahead of the expected time, it was in a box, with a heart shape cut into it… beautifully done.  I opened the box, and it was wrapped in two shades of tissue, and tied up with a gorgeous bow.  When I opened the ribbon, there was a card enclosed.  It had my first name on it, thanking me for my purchase and sending me good wishes.  It was hand signed by someone.  Classy!  I would buy from them again in a heartbeat.  Why? Because I felt appreciated as a customer.

This is the thing that’s hard for machines to do.  They really can’t express gratitude for your business.  They can’t help…  they can just refer you to another source, usually a website.  If I wanted to talk to your website, I would have logged in.  There’s a reason I called you instead.

In this world, your business can stand out by delivering a great experience.  If people didn’t notice in the past, they do now.  It almost takes you by surprise when someone is pleasant in their work these days.  I look for those places to do business with.  It’s proven that people will travel farther, and pay more, for the experience.

What are we thinking?

-Cat

One thought on “The Lost Art of Customer Service

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