Often times we hear the phrase, “The customer is always right.” There are instances where the phrase could be true or where it couldn’t be further from the truth. However, when we think of the phrase, we usually associate it with a desire for service personnel to give a high priority to customer satisfaction. Some of my experiences include 1) A sales clerk telling me to have a seat and she’d be right with me only to return after serving six others who came afterwards; 2) A telephone message that says, “Please hold for the next available customer service representative.” I actually left the phone on speaker for four hours and no one answered the call. Perhaps the company was closed for a reason but did not change their greeting accordingly. 3) My husband ordered a certain piece of chicken only to discover that it was not there. When he inquired about it, the sales clerk, in a very dogmatic manner, threw that piece in the trash, replacing it with the one he had ordered. Puzzled by the clerk’s behavior, the customer behind him hollered out, “If you were going to throw it away, couldn’t you just as well have left it there or perhaps given it to a homeless or hungry person?” 4) A recent inquiry to the financial office of our primary care provider disclosed what the real problem was when only one of our two insurance providers had been contacted. Our balance due was much higher than it should have been due to the negligence of someone not transmitting the billing to both. After a lengthy conversation about the matter and no resolution, we asked to be transferred to the manager. The manager was finally able to determine that the representative we had just spoken to was the one responsible for transmitting the information or lack thereof. It was also disclosed that he had simply been careless in his responsibilities and was not willing to admit that when we spoke. 5) And finally, a situation where the customer service representative was exasperated by the way the conversation was going since it was obvious he had no solution, no resolve to try to solve the problem, and no intention to involve someone else to help bring the matter to closure. Therefore, he simply hung up the telephone.
I’m sure you can think of other similar or worse examples. I hope these are only isolated incidences and that customer service is alive and well. After all, a satisfied customer is one to behold. I saw a recent quote that stated, “At the heart of providing customer service is the notion of ‘respect’.”