The Customer Service Struggles of a College Student


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Today’s cus­tomer is able to exer­cise his or her right to achieve the most enjoy­able and effi­cient expe­ri­ences pos­si­ble. And when they are unhappy, cus­tomers have many options for telling their peers. Suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies know that con­sis­tent ser­vice is inte­gral to long-term suc­cess. A cus­tomer is a cus­tomer regard­less of age, gen­der, or attire. This Sum­mer, Impact has been very for­tu­nate to employ Tucker Marsano as a con­tent mar­ket­ing intern. In the fol­low­ing post, Tucker shares a cou­ple per­sonal cus­tomer expe­ri­ences that high­light the impor­tance of con­sis­tency in world-class cus­tomer service.

I think we are all aware of the com­mon stereo­type which por­trays all young adults as strug­gling col­lege stu­dents who live the lux­u­ri­ous life of days filled with Stu­dent Loans and Mac&Cheese. As a young adult who is pur­su­ing higher edu­ca­tion, I must con­fess that unfor­tu­nately this is one of the truer stereo­types that we have seen over the years. And although we may live our lives cram­ming from mid-term to mid-term, there are over 16 mil­lion col­lege stu­dents across the coun­try who rep­re­sent a $100+ bil­lion mar­ket.

I am fully aware that there is an unspo­ken cus­tomer hier­ar­chy in which com­pa­nies value cer­tain cus­tomers exclu­sively more than oth­ers. I am also aware that as the aver­age young adult in school, with the dis­cre­tionary spend­ing power of nearly $13,000, I may be ranked below a num­ber of oth­ers on this hier­ar­chy. How­ever, no cus­tomer should ever feel as if their ser­vice is val­ued any less than a fel­low customer’s.

Upon my return home for the sum­mer, I imme­di­ately felt the cul­ture shock of no longer being sur­rounded by 37,000+ other stu­dents. I started to notice the many ways in which col­lege stu­dents are viewed in the out­side world, espe­cially as cus­tomers. While think­ing about the cus­tomer ser­vice that I receive as a young adult, two expe­ri­ences stood out to me in particular.

The first expe­ri­ence took place when a group of friends and I decided to all go out to din­ner to cel­e­brate com­plet­ing our first year away at school. As soon as we entered through the doors of the restau­rant, we could sense that every­one else felt as though we did not belong there. And once we were seated, we began being treated like the col­lege stu­dents that every­one knew we were. Through­out the night we had to prac­ti­cally flag down our wait­ress as she tended to the two tables of adults on either side of us. Now I admit that in most cases, groups of young adults can turn into a waiter’s night­mare… But if I may say so, we were per­fectly cor­dial and a whole lot qui­eter than the table next to us (that had been drink­ing all night). I firmly believe that if we had been the only table in the whole restau­rant, we would have most likely not noticed any­thing about the ser­vice we received. How­ever, since we could clearly see that our ser­vice was val­ued less than the other cus­tomers’, we were all extremely dis­sat­is­fied with the treat­ment we received.

The sec­ond expe­ri­ence of strug­gling cus­tomer ser­vice took place in a store down­town, which is actu­ally known for its great cus­tomer ser­vice. I needed to buy a some­what expen­sive device, some­thing that is def­i­nitely worth the atten­tion of a sales rep, but unfor­tu­nately my friend and I had to ask two dif­fer­ent sales reps that were each too busy before find­ing some­one who could help us. Once again, I acknowl­edge that most young peo­ple that come into elec­tron­ics stores sim­ply want to look at the devices and play with them if they can… How­ever, I already knew exactly what I wanted from the store; we sim­ply needed an employee to pur­chase it. But even once we were speak­ing with a sales rep, I had to nearly wave my money in the air to prove that I was plan­ning on buy­ing the device. Out of every­one in the store who was there to pur­chase the same device, I felt as though I was the only one who had to make an effort to get an employee’s atten­tion, and with­out sur­prise, I was also the youngest cus­tomer in the store.

While I can only speak as some­one viewed as a strug­gling col­lege stu­dent, I think that the major­ity of cus­tomer dis­sat­is­fac­tion stems from the frus­tra­tion of our money being val­ued any less than another person’s. The sto­ries above are per­fect exam­ples of how the sup­posed cus­tomer hier­ar­chy cre­ates a sit­u­a­tion in which it is the cus­tomer ser­vice that is strug­gling, not the col­lege student.

Key take­away: The expe­ri­ence customer-facing employ­ees pro­vide to your cus­tomer is your brand. To be suc­cess­ful, a com­pany must rec­og­nize the value in pro­vid­ing con­sis­tent support.


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