We all need a little help sometimes, right? In a world of self-service, sometimes it’s a breath of fresh air to talk to...wait for it...an actual human being and...wait for it...he or she actually knows what they’re talking about.
When it comes to the need of customer service, I’m sure we’ve all experienced the endless phone tree options only to finally get a human on the phone when you hear the dreaded, “I’m sorry, I’ll need to transfer you to another department...please hold.” (Commence wailing and gnashing of teeth). What’s even better are the times when you can’t even find a phone number for the business you’re trying to reach, so you’re relegated to an email. But where does that email go? Is there a giant wasteland of unanswered emails out there? Are they playing cards and drinking tea with all those missing socks?
Photo by Lucius Kwok
I can only hope my sock is out there somewhere living its best life.
Now don’t get me wrong, often times I specifically don’t want the pain of interacting with other humans. I love an ATM (probably because I can never get to the bank when they’re open). I live for online shopping (who has time to walk through a store?). And I couldn’t live without all the self-service apps on my iPhone (call CVS to get a prescription refilled? Never). But, when I do want service, dang it, I want service! I know, I know. We all want our cake and to eat it too (wait, did someone say cake?).
In my experience heading up a customer support team that services over 23,000 users, it’s clear that customers are thirsty for service--but on their terms. As customers become busier, more experienced, and (if I must) less patient (oh, and I’m the pot calling the kettle black there), it’s important to give customers options for support. As we’ve all become omni communicators, the landscape for customer support has been forced to make changes to adapt. We text, we call, we email, or we chat depending on the specific interaction and level of support needed (please don’t make me call Verizon, please don’t). The bottom line, and ultimately what people want, is fast and friendly help, regardless of the means. We want to feel special, appreciated, and even, valuable. And frankly, if I can get all that, I’ll take it in any form I can get it!
Photo by Michael Dorausch on Flickr
...and the Customer Service Award goes to...anyone but Siri!
I know most times we feel like we are the customer. But in reality, we all have customers. Whether you run a software company with users as your customers, you’re working the drive-thru at a local Wendy’s and hungry fast fooders are your customers (shout out to Wendy’s on Hwy 98 in Hattiesburg...you rock!), or you’re a 4th grade teacher and students and parents are your customers, we all have customers. And they all have unique needs. We, as customer service providers, need to remember that and cater to them. When it comes to servicing our customers, there’s no substitution for knowledgeable, personal human service. Whether it’s a phone call, a text, or an email, service providers need to be accessible in a personal kind of way. It should be easy to contact your electric company, your credit card company, and yes, even your child’s teachers. We’re all customers and we all have customers.
So no matter what you do or who your customers are, I think we can all heed Abraham Lincoln’s advice, “Whatever you are, be a good one.”