Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Customer Service

We've all had "those" experiences.  The ones where we call an 800 number to find resolution to a product or service we've paid our good money for.  Most of them are a total frustration.  In fact the credit card commercials featuring "Peggy" are pretty much on the mark.  And even when the person on the other end of the line speaks English as their primary language (thus very understandable) you are often left with the feeling that you are interrupting them from something more important or that they have less knowledge than you do on how to solve a problem with your latest techno-toy. (Yes, I've rebooted about 100 times!)

Customer service really requires the right attitude and the right tools.  You have to make the person you are serving believe that you enjoy helping them and the company you work for has to provide the appropriate resources for you to find and fix their problem (a good data base, good software or just good training in using a technical item.)  I know that it's hard to instill trust and confidence in the first few seconds of a phone conversation, but believe me, it happens!  The initial 30 seconds can pretty much tell you if this will be a good experience or another "Peggy" experience.

I had an OUTSTANDING customer service experience yesterday that deserves reporting.  I ordered a pair of shoes from an English company, Hotter several weeks ago.  The shoes arrived and were well made and a good fit, but the style did not agree with my deformed, bunion plagued feet.  Exchanges are provided postage free so I wrapped them back up and sent them back with another style choice that seemed like it wouldn't hurt my sensitive bunion area.  Since they go to England the delivery time each way is much longer than we have come to expect here.  I wanted to see if indeed my shoes had arrived.  I called their 800 number and reached a representative apparently in England.  This woman was delightful.  Not only could she tell me that indeed my shoes had arrived but also that the others would be in the "post" shortly.  She was outstandingly pleasant, made me feel like a valued customer and put a smile on my face.  My take away is this:  either Hotter has a great customer service training program which they should market, or England has a great custom of politeness which we would do well to incorporate into our society here.  Hopefully the next pair of shoes will be a wonderful fit and I will have fun filling my closet with other styles while Hotter will have gained a very loyal, shoe loving, customer in me.

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