Customer service makes the world go round. It’s how we gain access to the products, services and experiences we want and need. But sometimes it’s hard out there for a customer–which leads me to this post.
After a few recent mind-blowing customer service interactions (both good and bad), I’m sharing seven things I wish people who work in the service industry would be more mindful of when they’re on the job.
1. Our time is valuable. And just like yours, our time is money.
Your appointment systems and opening hours help us manage our time and plan our days. So when we show up at the time we’ve scheduled or during your business hours, please be there or call / put up a sign to indicate when we can expect you back. And don’t lie about how far away you are or how soon it will be before you arrive. It just makes everything worse.
2. Be accountable. Words like “shortly” or “soon” shouldn’t be part of service vocabulary.
“We’re committed to resolving your issue in two to three days” makes us feel like you care so much more than “We’ll send a technician out soon.” It would be nice to know when we can expect our service to be completed, get a callback, or have our issues resolved. Some of us have a lot going on and crazy schedules, so specifics on time are important.
3. Updates are everything.
Yes, we get it. Sometimes you won’t be able to deliver in the timeframe you’ve committed to because things happen. But while we wait, especially in-store right where we can see you, can we get an update? Communicate, even if there’s nothing positive to communicate. Hearing that you’re running short on team members or supplies or time doesn’t always make us happy but it’s better to know what’s up than having to guess what’s going on.
4. Listen, and give us the freedom to choose.
Few things warm my heart more than sitting at a manicurist’s table and having him/her ask, “Square or round?” This is one beauty industry example but the same goes for all sectors. Don’t just sell us what’s convenient for you or your bottom line, or what we look like we can afford. Respect our right to choose.
5. Take information security more seriously.
I’ve been a victim of credit card fraud a couple times, so forgive me if I’m extra sensitive about this one. But please do not walk away from our lines of sight with our credit cards in tow. Invest in a mobile card reader, set up a point of sale that’s near to customers, or give us the option of coming with you to the out-of-sight location where you will swipe our cards. This applies moreso when we’ve got to give you our address and telephone number as part of the transaction process. That’s jackpot for most fraudsters out there. Give us the comfort of knowing you’re not one and help us feel safe.
6. Our privacy on social media matters, too.
We understand the power of social media in building a business, especially a small business. But we don’t always want our photos or our purchases to be featured on your pages. Don’t just whip out your cameras / phones and snap away, or take the liberty to use a photo we’ve posted on our profiles as part of your marketing. Ask politely and please, don’t get mad when we say no.
7. Is that call, text or chat really that important?
We all have to use our mobile phones at some point during the workday. But sometimes your call, text or chat slows you down and gets in the way of your service delivery. If it’s an emergency, let us know you need to use the phone and most of us will understand. But respect the fact that not everyone wants to hear (or see) your personal conversations while we’re paying to have a service done.
Now I know not all customers are angels and some of us make service providers’ lives difficult. So look out for a follow-up post from the other perspective. I can’t wait to share.
Meanwhile, if you’re a customer with a comment or experience you’d like to add to my list, feel free to leave a message below.