THAT call to customer service…

Full marks for John Lewis and a lesson for all

I had occasion once to call the John Lewis customer service help line, when I was struggling to complete an online form. I confess to being angry and frustrated and felt like throwing the bloomin computer across the room. My opening comment was along the lines of “I’m trying to fill your ******y form in and every time I get to XYZ it fails… to his enormous credit the customer service operator replied (in a soft but concerned tone) “well that’s no good is it, let’s see if we can help you”.

I immediately felt so much better, but more than just better I felt that finally someone grasped my frustration and was going to help me – fantastic customer service.

At the other end of the scale, I recently called our IT support people  as a group of our websites were down. A huge concern as you can imagine and whilst it might only just have happened moments before I called urgently and must have sounded angry at them not picking it up before me. The response from a chap I have spoken to several times was “well it’s not going to help if you shout at me”.

In truth I don’t think I was shouting – well if he thought I was, he hasn’t heard me shout that’s for sure, but in my defense I was hugely frustrated that he hadn’t (in my mind) appeared to grasp the severity of the problem, I had to force myself to keep my cool in case the problem wouldn’t be solved in good time, which was more important than my pride.

Indeed having written these few words I recognize that I still haven’t gone to this chap’s supervisor whom I know personally and I must so do. The point being that I’m sure I wasn’t the first and shan’t be the last to experience such a dreadful experience and such a poor response will turn customers away. Frankly, I was so worried about the down-time (although they were up an running normally soon after my call) that in my relief I forgot all about it and did not progress it.

Certainly though, some of the boring old adages come to mind below, which some companies would do well to induct their client facing staff with:

A customer is the most important person to call us

They are not dependent on us, we are dependent upon them

He is the reason we are here taking phone calls

He pays our wages and without him there will be no wages

We do him no favors by looking after him, he pays our wages so we DO look after him!

Until next time


avatar Name: Alex Eager
About: Alex has worked as a Financial Controller and Finance Director for many years for a variety of companies across a range of industries but more recently she has moved away from accounting working for an internet marketing agency as Finance and Operations director, primarily overseeing the finance functions and search engine optimisation (SEO) for clients. Follow Alex on G+ and on Twitter @Alex_BusDirUK Alex runs her own company with two fellow owners developing a suite of e-commerce web sites and promoting them directly. “I found that SEO and finance were quite compatible both needing an eye for detail, research and analysis as well keeping up with new developments and changes.” Visit Alex's G+ Profile. and Twitter
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