Thursday, November 30, 2006

Seven Sins Of Customer Service

1. Disinterest: Seminar participants agree that the most flagrant examples of disinterest are found in certain department stores. The stories vary by category, but this is typical: “In the house wares department, I saw three clerks by the cash register chatting away…” We hasten to add that some stores in the St. Louis area have recognized the problem and trained their people to overwhelm you with service.
2. Brush-off: Perhaps not always the fault of the practitioner, the brush-off insults the customer. It usually occurs when the clerk or installer or service technician is deeply engrossed and an interruption breaks the train of thought; or there’s a time pressure; or there’s a long line waiting for service. Here training in patience and awareness of the problem pays off.
3. Coldness: Unfortunately, coldness is too often a personality trait. Some people are uncaring, self-centered or even just shy. They do not respond to others. Training can help, but the surest solution to the problem is in the hiring process. Weed out those who are not people-oriented.
4. Condescension: This problem rears its ugly head in matters of race, gender, age, accent, even dress.
5. Robotism: There must be a better way to acknowledge a customer’s choice of your establishment than, “Have a nice day.” It’s almost a mantra, and it is certainly off-putting. One solution is to post a list of alternatives in the employee lounge or bulletin board and hope that you make your point.
6. Rule Book: This is a difficult “Sin” to avoid. Some people hide behind so-called regulations as a means of avoiding conflict when a complaint arises. In many cases, however, Rule Book is a legitimate response. The trick is to seek alternative responses.
7. Runaround: How many runarounds have you experienced in the last 24 hours? Put another way, how many computerized response systems have you muddled through trying to reach a live human being.
Source: St. Louis Better Business Bureau (BBB)

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