Article : Difficult Customers!
I spend far too much of my time these days with my head in my hands, wondering why companies just keep on failing to understand that customer service isn’t about just being nice to people it is about coming to help. I hate to read the customer service / contact centre industry blogs, articles and opinion pieces written with their ten points of how to best deliver service to the customers liking! NO I am sorry but there aren’t ten easy ways to satisfy your customers, there isn’t even one easy thing you can do to satisfy just one customer. All customers are difficult to truly please and difficult customers can prove to be far more difficult than most managers seem to comprehend!
In general I am a nice guy and I am that difficult customer especially when it comes to substandard service providers, and there are far more of these than should exist. So what turns people like me from being nice people into a difficult customers is what companies should be interested in! Which is what I have been doing for the past 25 years or so and yet I am still not going to be in the position to set down here today a write up a list of things that will fix your customers experience. The problem is that there are thousands of things that can go wrong for customers internal or external alike. But I can give you the top three things that piss me off!
Hiding, who you are is top of my hate list. It’s has got better but I am amazed at how many people think that using their first name only is an acceptable from of introduction. How can you trust a person unwilling to divulge their name? Hiding also covers the people that keep a vale of false identity by acting rather than engaging with customers, or faking it, faking it has been an issue for customers forever but only recently that psychologist have come back saying that faking it cost employees far more that the customers they lose in that it is a major cause of stress related illness in customer service workers. Hiding who you are is my top hate list and come in number one as to why I will be difficult.
An enemy of my enemy might be a friend, but a friend to my enemy is always my foe! I am always amazed how many people can’t do customer service because they are subservient! Not to the customer but to their employer, if you can’t champion my cause don’t ask me for my problem. I will go ballistic if you start off trying to tell me that the company isn’t responsible or at fault or is covered by terms and conditions or some other position without first understanding my position.
Fight me, pull me or push me! I think that few people are well trained in customer care, and because there are so few examples of good service, most have no idea that you need to road map out your engagement process with every contact prior to engaging in questioning. Even fewer are aware that before asking difficult questions it is wise to express why those questions are being asked and what’s in it for the customer when they answer. Ask me difficult questions, make me follow a process designed for you (can I have your account number and password), put me on hold, transfer me to someone who I must start over with. Just to name a few examples.
I am not saying that these are the only three things that get customer to go to the dark side, but if you have these handled you should see significantly less difficult customers than most.
Ronald C Hughes is the founder of CCMA Ireland and currently is Director of Innovation for Learning and Assessment at Skills Assessment Academy Limited headquartered in Dublin Ireland.
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Published: Tuesday, December 10, 2013