An experience not to forget!

Sanam Reza
Thursday, December 21st, 2017


 

Kindness and courtesy are at the root of a positive customer service experience, said Shep Hyken, a customer service expert, author, and speaker. Some say good or great customer service goes something like this:

 

“A customer is the most important visitor, on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption to work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a fovour by giving us the opportunity to do it (by anonymous).”

 

But do we all get this from the places we visit? So much money is spent on training by companies for better customer service but, really the major portion of learning is that you make the customer feel welcome and important. Don’t we all know that with simple logic and common sense? We all just want someone to listen to our problem regarding the product or service when we enter the premises, and to make us feel that our problem is not stupid, and it isn’t unreasonable to expect someone to help fix it. But do we all receive that treatment?

 

Bangladesh has recently had a respectable rise in business and economic growth. We see so many new young entrepreneurs doing so well. In my opinion, it is their new approach that is making them successful, by putting old and traditional methods of doing business aside and thinking like their customers when they enter a shop, office, etc. Think of all the changes in how the Banks treat their priority customers nowadays, it is simply amazing! Restaurants and most new shops all follow the same rule, at least they seem from a customer’s perspective; “You, the customer, is all we care about!” I love it when I enter a café or restaurant that I visit frequently, a photocopy shop I drop by regularly for work, they all have that one common factor; they make me feel that what I need is the most important thing to them! I know that it might not be their true feeling towards me as an individual but, they do their best to make me feel that they care about serving me, about the troubles I face while using their product or service. Retail shops for clothes, our tailors, and those small shops at the corner of our streets selling tea and snacks have been doing it for decades. They just don’t have that certification of marketing expertise. They do not even realize how strong their customer loyalty is; and big corporations with bad customer service on the other hand keep ignoring how important customer loyalty is.

 

When it comes to government agencies, I personally have no experience, so I cannot really say much but, I would understand why they wouldn’t know how to best handle customers with warmth and care. But, private corporations who cannot provide good customer service really do not deserve to serve us. The person in the customer service office or the operator on call who attends to complaints and feedback are the first point of contact for customers. I would feel as a customer, that is the most crucial phase for me. I need to know they have made a note of my problem or appreciate my feedback because ultimately that is what’s going to help them in future to improve.

 

Two real incidents from very different scenarios from 2 different people (they do not want to disclose their identities):

 

The 1st incident is set at an office of an agent for another company who process all the paperwork where “A1” & “A2” are the officers at the Agent’s office, and “K” is the customer [As they are the only ones doing this business here, we cannot disclose the nature of the business]. At this place, one can pay extra and choose the option for the officers there to handle all paperwork and get a more personalized service for convenience. K chose that option where he is personally been attended to. He was asked to wait for someone to come and 15-20 minutes passed waiting. Eventually, he goes up to A1 and asks where is the person who is suppose to assist him, and A1 simply loses her temper and says that “You are not suppose to just sit there and wait, you need to go there (pointing to someone) and tell them what you need”. K is simply stunned at her response and walks to the pointed direction. He comes upon A2 and repeats that he has been waiting for a while to be attended to and A1 cuts him in the middle of it and responds, “It’s not been that long that you have been waiting! How long was it?” K at this point is shocked at A2’s attitude and replies that it’s been about 15-20 minutes, to that A2 says that 15-20 minutes isn’t that long. K was just shocked and says, “Listen, 15-20 minutes may not be long to you but, it is long for me and my time is precious.” Listening to that, other unhappy customers scream out that they have been also waiting for so long. A cleaner passing them also adds that K has been waiting for a long time. At this point, A2 and other officers get nervous and instantly change their attitude and suddenly become all polite and tell K that they are at his service. Another officer who comes in at that very moment, asks everyone to refrain from using their phones and another customer says that they have been waiting so long to be served and they need to do something to kill time. That officer’s response to this comment was, “Everyone is waiting and that’s how it is but, you still can’t use your phone”, instead of something polite and effective like “I understand Sir, but it’s a policy we have and it is for your own security so kindly understand. I will ask someone to look into your request right away.”

 

I couldn’t believe A2’s response! He was the worst kind of officer one could come across at a customer service office and his responses were along the line that the customer was wrong; which is exactly opposite to what it should be, “The customer is always right”.

 

The 2nd incident is set on a flight back to Dhaka where the conversation is between a steward, a stewardess, and the passenger. The passenger after the meal asked for another glass of soft drink. The nice stewardess got her another can of the drink and the passenger told her that she just wanted a little bit and this was too much. The stewardess politely told her that she wanted to give her more just in case the passenger was too thirsty. The passenger felt overjoyed with that treatment however, she couldn’t finish the whole can. After a little while the steward came out and asked the passenger if she was the one who couldn’t finish the drink. When the passenger replied that she was, he literally started screaming at the passenger for wasting the drink. Before even the passenger could reply, he walked away. The passenger was of course furious and told the stewardess that she has paid for this flight where the cost of these things are included, and how, in the first place she didn’t even want so much of it. The poor stewardess nodded standing there, embarrassed, with no courage to apologize for her colleague and the rest of the flight staring.

 

It isn’t hard to see why this whole thing is seriously flawed from the perspective of customer service. Companies have to put in more effort to train their customer service officers to be more tolerant of customers. ”Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement” [by anonymous]. There are many customers who are extremely rude, unreasonable, and irrational but, that officer has to remember that they chose to be in that place of power to change the entire approach from that exact point that they are being spoken to or contacted. They can actually tell these customers that they totally understand and they will do their best to fix it. Of course it isn’t so simple in real life, but well that’s what their trainings should be about; how to treat difficult customers and how to also respond to genuine complaints or feedbacks.

 

There is a reason why most students choose BBA majoring in Marketing when they don’t know what they want to study. It’s easier than other subjects to study as every one of us understand the psychology of a customer, each and every one of us are a customer for someone. But, when it comes to application of marketing, it is one of the most difficult things to do successfully in this world with regards to both B2B (Business-to-Business) and B2C (Business-to-Customer). You have to convince people with so many different types of mentality, likes, dislikes, nature, and expectations, that your product can satisfy them; where we all know human wants and needs can never be satisfied. You have to make them remember, love and keep purchasing your product or service. It has to be one of the most difficult things to do in this World when you actually have to make people love your product without complains but, may be have healthy criticism, which we all know can be so hard as people tend to find flaws no matter how hard you try to please them. Therefore, I would like to salute the companies and officers who deal with customer complaints and feedback successfully; and I urge all to monitor how your employees deal with these customers and if they misbehave with the customers or not. Without your customers, you are no one but someone sitting with something to sell that no one wants. Always remember, “although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will [Kate Zabriskie – Learning and Development Industry Veteran, Corporate Culture Consultant]. As Bill Gates [Co-founder of Microsoft] said, “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

 

Sanam Reza, a young entrepreneur, did her higher education in Malaysia and Australia.

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