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Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Pitfalls of Customer Service

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Beleaguered Cat
Scenario 1:  Miss A is leaving the country for another one which is approximately 6000 miles from where she is standing right now. She knew she was leaving that day but waited for the last minute to pay her bills. She needed a validated slip to show the person she was paying as proof of the transaction. It was a Saturday where there were only a limited number of branches that accepts over-the-counter payments. She went to a small kiosk that doesn’t have any over the counter transactions and thus only have a machine bin where she can drop her payment for the next weekday. As common to last minute hurdles, bad luck hit, the machine had a failure and Miss A reprimanded the woman who mans the kiosk for not seeing to it that the machine works well (it did until it was her turn). Beleaguered with the scolding, the woman tells her that there are other open branches where she can make her payment that will give her a validated slip as opposed to the machine that has none and that she will call the engineer to have the machine fixed as Miss A continued to scold the woman.

How was the woman to know that the machine would break down at that precise moment? Did she presume that the woman had ESP? If Miss A knew she was leaving that day for abroad, why hadn’t she settled her accounts days before she left?  There is also such a thing called the “telephone” where she could have asked beforehand which branch accepts over the counter payments. Lastly, why does she have to blame someone else when she also has her own shortcomings?

Scenario 2:  Mr. A wants to apply for a telephone line. An application requires one’s Tax Identification Number or Social Securtiy Number as required by  a recent Act which the representative explained. Mr A then rudely asked why he got lines from other providers without such requirements? He already has a couple from other telecom companies, why does he need to comply with these requirements when other companies didn’t ask for it when he applied. To top it all, he claimed that he was just merely a small town  farmer that he doesn’t remit his taxes to the government but clearly stated in his application that he had two lines already. He then stormed away and ripped his application.

According to a dictionary, an application is a request. It is not a demand. Logically speaking, why would you apply for something if it doesn’t have any qualifications or requirements. You can just go and get it-right? Sadly, for a telephone line you need to apply thus you have to submit requirements and must have certain qualifications. Furthermore, even if you don’t pay your taxes you still live in this country and no one is above the law, so if it's a mandate why not comply it?

These are sample scenes that customer service clerks encounter every day. They get to deal with various types of people, from the nice ones to the bratty ones. It’s amazing how they keep their sanity when they encounter such people every day. The worst part of all is that they can only mumble their apology without even defending their own selves, helplessly tweaking a rubber band on their wrist to ease the tension.

We fail to ask ourselves, what if no one would ever want to work as a customer service clerk and just let a machine do their stuff-would it create a happier environment for us? An unfeeling machine that would only take a “yes” or a “no” answer. Imagine having a family member figure out in an accident and you desperately need a huge amount of money in order to facilitate an operation (with an assumption that the hospital doesn’t have a POS)and you arrived a minute after branch is closed. If the bank employees inside were machines/robots, programmed to process huge amount of withdrawals at a strict time frame-would you be able to get the cash you need as opposed to a feeling person who might allow you out of humanity to do it even if branch is closed? Or you are in the airport and finally boarded the plane and you realize that your old man was not with you and the aircraft door has closed and could not be opened because it is programmed to do so, do you think it would be better than having a human person understand you and make an exemption on this?

There are times when you wonder why this sales lady is grumpy, how would you know that she has not encountered 7 clients like those above mentioned before she serviced you? How would you know that the waiter you just screamed at just dipped his dirty finger into your diet cola without you knowing it? There are also instances when these customers are caught on tape and you’d see how disgusting these people behave like this.
Karma is a Biatch

Like Wayne Dyer said, “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours”.  I think it pretty much says how it is in Customer Service.

Scenarios might have/ or not have happened in real life
Photos not mine credits to Yahoo Images