Lately, I have had several requests to write about online customer service. So I thought to myself: what are my expectations for online customer service as opposed to the brick and mortar version? Are my expectations different? Or are they the same?
I believe that all customer service comes back to relationships. It really is about someone’s intuition around approach and having the wisdom to know we are all looking for something pleasant. Having said that, do we always remember to be clear and present back?
I’ve always found that revisiting the definition of a term to be a wonderful place to start. In this case, “Customer service” refers to the way that companies behave towards their customers, for example how well they treat them.”
If I’m on the phone in a shop/store, why would you suddenly approach me and start talking? I know I’m being rude to even use a device which allows us to visually talk to the air while inhabiting someone else’s space, but… these are the times – really, what I’d love is if someone took five seconds to observe the “attitude” I’m wearing before they approached me.
Having said that, I also realize how I can have a silent tantrum because no-one is taking the slightest bit of notice as I wander around a store looking, aimlessly, for the perfect whatnot.
Ahh…we are such silly difficult animals.
Let’s assume all is perfect – the user experience, the search, the clarity of the content, the registration, ordering, and check out. Ideally, it’ll all be as simple as ABC.
Please make it easy for me to find your telephone number. PLEEASE. I actually love the live help chat, IF it works. The email address, if it happens to link to the right person, isn’t a horrid third either. But do NOT ask me to go to FAQ’s or About Us page. Why would you do that to us? We are as busy as you. We are as smart as you. Please do not do waste our time or patronize us. Not fun or polite.
I also love it when I am clearly told what to expect instead of discovering in the microscopic print of an invoice I didn’t know I was receiving.
Telephone numbers, live chats, email addresses…these are your fail safes. Make them easy to find so we don’t have to scroll through walls of text when we’re already frustrated.
Those are my expectations and my gripes. Now, how can we help ourselves to receive better by first expressing ourselves a little better?
- Who hasn’t waited on tables at some point in their life? [I was fired within my first 30 minutes, but that’s an entirely different story…]
- Or delivered newspapers/magazines?
- Or interned at companies entering in data into mindless computers?
- It’s all the same thing. Its called service. Whether the customer is someone buying shoes or someone paying your bills.
So, let’s also remember to be clear and polite with our fellow sapiens. And if they want us to write up a survey, why not? It will probably help us the next time we visit this dark expensive store, or cramped airline, or labyrinthine expanse of shelves. I think its pretty simple: It’s all about give and take. Express and Receive. Pleases and Thank you’s.
It’s a smiling handshake.
It’s an uninterrupted cup of celebration.
It’s a pause of appreciation.
It’s a wanted slice of recognition.
©Clare Munn 2008-2011
Thank you to all who serve well.
Thank you to all who appreciate.
Thank you to everyone who recognizes this fact.