Originally posted on Tembua’s website.
I admit I’m an impatient person. My computer crashes because I’ve clicked four other places while waiting for the program to react to my first click. I want people to return my phone calls now, and it annoys me when e-mail answers don’t arrive immediately.
Still, I know that a quality product takes time. And I’m willing to wait (while tapping my toes and drumming my fingers) for a special order to be filled. I also understand that screw-ups happen. I don’t like it, but I understand.
What I don’t understand is the ever-more-common attitude of customer service representatives who refuse to take responsibility for a faulty product or a billing system error. Twice in the past year the phone company has threatened to cut off our service for non-payment. Each time the notice arrived simultaneously with the new bill thanking us for our prompt payment. The hospital where our daughter was treated for a serious accident is hounding us nearly to the point of harassment about bills – bills which they sent to the wrong insurance company despite our repeated phone calls. Each time, I’m told we should see to it that the correct company gets the bill. How? I ask. More to the point, why? The mistake is yours — fix it.
Computer support lines are a category all by themselves. My favorite line there is, “That shouldn’t happen, ma’am.” Well, the reason I called is that it did happen. If you sent us faulty software or hardware, don’t waste my time. Just make it right.
Untrained teenage retail clerks also have me gnashing my teeth. Do you have X? Blank stare. I dunno. Second blank stare. I have thus far refrained from flattening one of them. But to be fair, a business owes its employees at least minimal training and a walk through the facility before sticking name tags on their shirts and turning them loose.
Complaining is fun, but examples of excellent customer service exist as well. Our network technicians do what we ask them to do, find problems we weren’t aware of, work outside of regular business hours so we don’t lose work time, and always clean up after themselves. The local car care folks call me by name, return a clean vehicle and explain things in an understandable way without patronizing me. And the company from which we bought leather chairs had the perfect response when I called about a puncture in the upholstery: “We’ll send someone out, ma’am. Will Thursday work for you?” When I stammered that we hadn’t bought the extra warranty, the voice on the phone smiled and said, “That’s OK. We want you to be happy so you’ll come back.” And I will.
Anyone at Precision Language Services who answers a call from an irate customer automatically responds, “How can we make this right for you?” Sometimes an explanation is all that’s needed. Sometimes there’s been a misunderstanding between the contact person and the end user. Sometimes the person calling has the wrong company and we’ve never seen their translation. But in those rare instances when we’re to blame, we immediately take the problem off the customer’s shoulders and handle it as quickly as possible. It’s our mistake. We’ll fix it.