Customer service is all around us. It’s totally and completely in the mainstream. Ask almost anyone on the street for a customer service story or their own personal opinions about good and bad customer service, and you’ll undoubtedly get an earful. You can write volumes about how to treat people and how not to treat people.
That being said, I want to share two recent stories with you. The first, a simple example of a do and the second, a don’t.
On my return from a recent trip in Chicago, I found myself waiting in line for TSA to inspect my boarding pass. Anyone that travels should be well aware of the bad rap that TSA gets in customer service circles. I’m here to tell you that there are exceptions.
On this particular occasion, I witnessed a TSA agent inspecting the boarding pass and driver’s license of a traveler. As she completed her inspection she said “Oh by the way, Happy Birthday!” She had seen from looking at the picture ID, that the person’s birthday was coming up and seized the opportunity.
Lesson: Information is powerful stuff. When you have information about your customers, use it to connect dots and seize these opportunities. Even a simple Happy Birthday can be very powerful. As the face of your company to that customer, you’ve just built a connection between them and your brand!
I was recently speaking with a friend who was on the phone with his bank. Apparently he had been the victim of a mistake that cost a few thousand dollars. He was working with the bank to have that money restored to his account. The agent he was speaking with had to escalate the matter to another department.
After escalating, she said she would keep her fingers crossed that his money would be restored to him. My friend couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of that expression. He responded letting her know he would call back to tell her when she could uncross her fingers.
Lesson: There is no room for wishy washy lack of ownership in customer service. Especially when money is on the line, customers need customer service representatives who take ownership of the situation and see it through to the right resolution. Rather than crossing her fingers, the agent should have personally ensured there was no luck necessary.