A Customer Called Us Idiots…And They Were Right


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When I blog about customer service, my aim isn’t to paint a picture of 100% success and perfection. We in fact aren’t aiming for perfection, we are aiming to be awesome. The fact of the matter is, we are far from perfect and make mistakes. I want to highlight one mistake that I found particularly amusing.

Let me start with the way the customer responded in our customer service survey when we asked if they would like to be contacted back.

Don’t bother, you guys are absolute idiots

I actually changed a word or two so as not to offend our readers. In this case, I couldn’t help but agree with the customer. We got our signals crossed and told this customer he owed $400 when he owed $9. That’s a big oops. What was my response to the customer? I called immediately and worked with them to sort out the issue and made sure we were all on the same page.

As the guy in charge of customer service for our company, these sorts of snafus are scary. We were fortunate that we had the opportunity to correct this misunderstanding and save a customer. Here are a few things I learned from this screw up:

Processes Are Really Important– Without giving a lot of detail let me just say that within customer service, the better we are at establishing and following processes, the less likely this is to happen. The more customers we have, the more critical processes become.
We Aren’t Perfect– If we spend all of our time blogging and tweeting about how awesome we are, it’s easy to miss a big mistake. The lesson here is to close our mouths long enough to open our ears and listen to what our customers are saying — or shouting.
Transparency Is Good– I am extremely blessed to work for a company that is strong enough to own up to a mistake and works tirelessly to make things right.

Is it fair enough to say that we WILL make mistakes? It’s not a matter of IF but WHEN. I think the fact that we learn from them, listen to our customers, and make things right makes us awesome. Not perfect but AWESOME. What do you think?

Jeremy Watkin
Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Support and CX at NumberBarn. He has more than 20 years of experience as a contact center professional leading highly engaged customer service teams. Jeremy is frequently recognized as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working he's spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis.


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