Customer service stories

Good customer service is not that difficult.  All you have to do is remember to ask yourself two simple questions.  If I was on the other side of the equation: 1) what would be my expectations of the interaction?, and 2) are those expectations reasonable? To complete the interaction, deliver the service with pride.

IT departments get a lot of bad press for customer service but I don’t think they’ve cornered that market.  Poor service is democratically spread across all industries, across all levels, and across all types of people.  I’ll cite a good example of customer service and another where work is obviously required.

This blog you’re reading is written on an application called WordPress.  It was reported in the media this week that they were the target of a DDoS attack that slowed, and briefly made unavailable, service on the platform.  They also experienced another slowdown that was self-inflicted and was due to a software maintenance issue. What I appreciated was that we WordPress users were sent an email in which the company owned up to and explained the problems, and how they were dealing with them.  Good customer service.

The second example is very local for me and should have been incredibly easy to avoid. I live in a condo with a property management company that is supposed to take care of  all common areas of the facilities. It’s a relatively new building so they’re still getting their feet wet figuring things out. However, remember what I said was the first question you should ask yourself…. what would be my expectations of the interaction?  In the case of working with a property manager, I expect totally transparent communications and I expect smartly logical planning of work.  I think those are reasonable expectations.  Afterall, we pay a considerable sum of money each month for maintenance.  Should intelligence and courtesy command a surcharge? Evidently, they do. Our parking garage was in desperate need of a cleaning and the property management company scheduled the work, and announced the dates and the procedure (move your cars out for two days) to the residents. The work was executed (poorly, but that’s another blog post) and everyone put their cars back in the garage. You can imagine our surprise and frustration the next day to see new construction being carried out in the garage, with clouds of dust and debris blanketing the cars and the parking surface. No explanation forthcoming from Property Management, no communication whatsoever, bad customer service.

People, it really is not that hard of a job.  Use your head, plan logically, communicate with honesty, and….apologize if you know in your heart that you screwed up.

About Peter Armaly
I get jazzed by automation, big data, and blockchain tech. Business, technology, and fitness are things I understand. Scotch, wine, food, and fiction are things I appreciate.

4 Responses to Customer service stories

  1. Robert Alvarez says:

    Very good post Pete. I have lived in the Customer Service industry for the last 18 years and your two points are what CS is all about – communication…. by any of the channels available and now there are more available than ever before. There is no reason to not to.

    I have enjoyed reading your posts, keep it up!

    • Peter Armaly says:

      Thanks for your comments, Rob. I’m glad you enjoy reading them. I enjoy the writing of them. Good customer service is really about respect, isn’t it. Respect for people’s time and the fact that they ultimately pay your salary.

  2. Robert Alvarez says:

    Exactly. Treat others the way you want to be treated. In the contact center business it is hard for the CS agent to realize the part about the “person paying your salary”, it is sometimes just a voice over the phone, it becomes very impersonal, no connection with the customer. How many times have we had to call/wake people in the middle of the night for support, and the first words we said were “sorry to bother you at this hour…”, we didn’t have to say those simple words, but we did because it was the right thing to do.

  3. Micheal says:

    Hi there, just wanted to tell you, I loved this post.
    It was helpful. Keep on posting!

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