How to not suck at customer service. - Kristen Kalp

How to not suck at customer service.

I was working on a major project and it wasn’t going well.  And by not going well, I mean that it was a constant source of frustration, tears, and Bud Light drinking.  (Yah.  Bud Light. In cans.  Told you it was bad.)

Instead of bitching, moaning, and whining about my frustrations and then being nicey-nice to the project manager’s face, I told her what was up. Two pages of ‘this happened, this happened, this happened, and then THIS happened, and then I cried.’

I had given up on the project experience and chalked the whole thing up to ‘lesson learned’ or some other bullshit cliche that people bust out when things aren’t going their way.  I expected absolutely nothing good to happen from sending that e-mail.

But a miraculous transformation took place.  The project got back on track and I want to hug the whole team who made it happen.

Bonus: I learned how to not suck at customer service.  All the business books in the world haven’t been so effective as the way this professional handled my situation.  What did she do, and how can you be as awesome as her?

Respond to concerns immediately.

The length and breadth of the e-mail meant that I expected a hefty pause between hitting the send button and receiving a reply. Instead, I got a full apology and immediate action promised within 20 minutes. Which leads us to…

Apologize.

I don’t care if a client is calling to say that the album vendor tied her shipment with ribbon that has just been recalled due to a massive child labor crackdown in Outer Mongolia.  You may not be responsible for the detail that’s making your client crazy.  But.

You’re sorry the client is in that situation, so you’re sorry.

Follow through like a mofo.

If a client has HAD IT, now’s not the time to start making empty promises.  Tell ’em what you’re going to do, and on what time frame, and then do it.

Thank the client for letting you know about the issue.

What!? What what!? Yes,that’s right. If a client’s issue lets you know that a policy needs tweaking or that your e-mail isn’t delivering all its messages or that your UPS man treats packages like Ace Ventura, Pet Detective — well, that’s great information. Next time, you’ll know to go FedEx.

P.S.  How to say no.  With pizazz.

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