Customer Service All Gone South

[tags]customer service, dlink[/tags]

I’ve long been an advocate of good customer service and as someone whom has worked in service industries all my working life I have to say that it really isn’t that hard.

Let me repeat that: Good customer service is not difficult.

There are, as with anything, several tricks to it but they all boil down to common sense.

  • The first of these is to sound/appear awake.
  • The second being to sound/appear interested.
  • Another is to personalise it.
  • Another is to not let the other persons words get to you
  • And last bit not least is to take ownership.

I know it’s an oft repeated cliche but how many times have you contacted an organisation to be passed from pillar to post? I know when that happens with me, I hang up and redial. Then when I get through the second time I ask the name of the person who has answered and then using their name I explain my situation and that I’ve been passed from pillar, etc. I’d guesstimate that in the region of >90% of my calls meet with success when I approach problems this way. That little bit of ownership, albeit forced by myself on them, does wonders in how your issue is dealt with.

Let me ask you this if you still don’t agree. If I speak with you and know your name about an issue. Unless the issue has been clearly handed on to another person, then I’m coming back to you again and again and again. Do you want that? Do you want that especially if you haven’t helped me?

I know when I deal with my clients I like to personalise my dealings. So where practical I find our their name and utilise that as often as the conversation allows me to do so naturally. I have found that this one factor helps overcome a lot of problems my colleagues face when dealing with the same client or similar issues.

Lastly, how thick is your skin? Or perhaps I should ask do you take it personally when a client has a go at you over a product or service your company has failed with? I’ve seen colleagues of mine respond in white hot rages in these situations whereas myself I handle it differently – but then you knew I was going to say that! I wait for an opportune moment in the conversation and then I say something similar to the following: “Sir / Madam, I want to help you but I am not willing to accept the foul language / abuse / whatever. If we can continue this discussion in a calm and reasonable manner then I will do what I can to help. If you insist on following this path then I will have no option but to hang up / walk away.”

In 27yrs of employment I can only recount a handful of times where this has not tamed (and sometimes shamed) the client into being a nicer person and no, they aren’t always right either.

However and whatever your approach there are times you will meet the incalcitrant, the bored, the cantankerous or the it’s not my job crew. What then?

The short generalised answer is I don’t know. However, in certain cases taking it “to the net” can be a way of venting ones frustration and although it may not get you answers, it does serve a purpose of letting the company know that you won’t be cowed by their lack of service and respect. It may also reach a wide enough audience that the company do something about it.

So why this note … well watch this space as I’ll shortly be detailing my on-going battle with D-Link over an issue that isn’t of significant importance, but it does show woeful customer service from them and I’ve now reached the end of the line in my dealings with them (read, I’m fed up and want to draw a line under this sorry affair). I don’t want anything from them (now) other than perhaps letting others know that if you buy D-Link then you are on your own.