Customer What? Problem #3

The third problem with the customer service industry is that Americans are afraid to make waves.  This also happens to be the problem with politics in America, but that’s another post.  My family is terrified of upsetting the balance of whatever happens to be going on at the time.  They won’t discuss politics, they rarely mention religion, and they never, ever complain about customer service, no matter how bad it is.  My mom always taught me to think about the kind of day the person might have had to make them behave the way they did, (which is a nice trick when I start to get annoyed at anyone, especially those who cut me off in traffic) but it doesn’t really apply to the service industry (see Expectation #1).  I do it anyway. 

But I still have a right to complain if the service is not up to standards (and my expectations are reasonable).  It is OKAY to complain if a service does not meet your requirements, such as; rude service or lack of service, bad food (not food you didn’t like) or food prepared incorrectly, difficulty finding someone to help you, and service not completed correctly or within a reasonable amount of time.  Americans are afraid of confrontation and terrified of being thought unreasonable by those around them.  I blame Joe McCarthy, but again that’s another post.  Here are some steps that have rarely had negative results:

Step 1: Address your concerns with the supervisor of the person who is not meeting your expectations, and try to do it outof their earshot.  This is not “going over their heads”.  If the employee has already been rude, it is okay to refuse further interaction with them.  If the employee has already failed to meet your needs, they are probably not able to do so and it is okay to move on to someone who can.

Step 2: Give the supervisor the opportunity to correct the situation.  In some cases, all the supervisor can do is apologize and promise to speak to the employee about your concerns.  Let that be enough.  After all, your goal is to avoid a repeat of the situation the next time you visit (if the serivce hasn’t been so bad that you’ve decided not to come back).

Step 3: Write a letter to the supervisor of the person you spoke to describing your expectations, your experience, and the results (positive or negative).  You should also mention how your perception of the company has changed and whether or not you plan to return.


2 Responses to “Customer What? Problem #3”

  1. August 13, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    My sister-in-law is a letter-writer. Unfortunately, she does it more in the hopes of getting freebies than because her service was truly awful (though I’m sure there was some sort of problem, it’s not the motivation for the letter).

  2. 2 unitedwelay1
    August 14, 2007 at 8:52 am

    I write letters, though I don’t expect to get anything and I rarely do. I did get a $100 voucher from US Airways because I told them I’d never fly with them again after a particularly bad experience. I sent back the voucher, telling thenm I thought I’d made it clear that I would NEVER fly with them again, and I was insulted by the gesture as I am aware that NO flight costs under $100 and they sent me the voucher in the hopes that I would spend MORE money with their company.

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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