Editor's Note: The Forgotten Art
Nov 1, 2004 12:00 PM, By Mark Johnson
Has the art of customer service been forgotten?
The old adage, “The customer is always right,” doesn't mean as much as it used to. Recently, a vendor screwed up my order and insisted that responsibility for the error came from my end. When I proved that the error was the vendor's, no apology came. The excuse? The person who took the order was busy. Then the burden fell back on me. “Well, we can't fill your order now, so you'll have to come back in two hours.” So the person who took the order was busy, and they made a mistake. But isn't it that person's job to take the order? Sure, mistakes are made, but own up to them and try your best to rectify the situation. Don't make customers go out of their way. I told this story to a friend, and he immediately offered his own customer service tale of woe. I'm sure most people have similar stories.
In this time of rapid-fire technology advancement and frenzied working environments, it's easy to be distracted and forget that we work in a service-driven industry. We must take care of the customer. We often speak of training, learning about new technologies, product use, and applications. Yet we tend to forget customer service. The customer service desk is a key contact point with your customers, and those consumers often judge companies by the treatment they receive. We've all been that judge at times. When you've had a problem resolved quickly and painlessly, you can't say enough good things about the company. Conversely, an experience with a rude and unhelpful company can affect your future purchasing decisions. No one wants problems, but when they arise, they need to be dealt with efficiently. We must always act professionally.
Service is a key thing we offer in this industry. It's important that everyone who regularly works with customers receives proper training and the skills to turn potentially bad situations into positive experiences.