How Can I Help You?

We’ll spare the details about how we came to let out “the Terriers in us who won’t let go”; suffice to say there is a difference between Customer Service sand Customer Services.  The distinction being, it would increasingly seem that one being about the customer and one being about the business but only a small S between the two.

“Could you please make your way to the tills with your purchases, or make your way to the exit, as the store will be closing soon”, was the arousing information announcement. Thinking there wasn’t time to browse, select and then make a purchase, it was a surprise to find, having left the store, that announcement had been made a tad (25 minutes) prematurely at `5 past 5′.  Surely Customer Services at TK Maxx would be able to service their potential customer with information that conflicted with the information put out on their website? Seems not the first formulaic time around, as a typical and slow response came back apologising for their service at (fill in the blank), with paragraph about (fill in the blank) being important for customer happiness, along with reassurances for (fill in the blank). The query wasn’t answered, but there was polite thank you for the never given, `feedback’.  Terrier time; to which we only had to wait a further ten days, and two reminders, to get a personal response that finally answered the query.

Well, that’s big Companies, you might say. In our experience, afraid it’s not. It wouldn’t be the first time that we’d had to speak with an independent business only to be greeted by a phone-guard  who takes a decision that you will not pass go because ‘(fill in the blank) won’t be, or isn’t of,  interest’.  Hang on!  They’re expecting the call!  ….Phone goes down. Unbelievable for business today but, sadly, true.   We got around the rebuff, Terriers that we are,  and gave feedback to which we were genuinely thanked, especially, as we pointed out  that might have been an opportunity  missed for the business, taken away by their employee;  fair comment if  instructions were being followed, although short-sighted in business terms.

Are Customer Services overtaking what is known as Customer Service?  The nature of working with businesses means that we see all types of behaviours and attitudes but try telling that to a customer whose experience is only limited to their personal experience.  To the customer, which we all are at some time , who wants exemplary Customer Service, but use their spending power in places that are generic, places in which Customer Services is the replacement for Customer Service, hence employees  tend to be the on the front line of complaints, returns and general confrontation on behalf of their employer.

Expecting a Corporate to take time to respond to a two-way conversation that goes beyond the tick-the-box query is normal. Many have superb Customer Services websites but their Customer Service can be lacking, equally there are superlative Independents when it comes to Customer Service whose Customer Services are lacking.  Getting the balance is all important because, as we all know, customers have the ability to make their persuasions known with their wallets.

Courtesy is a two way thing between customer and business, or business to business, therefore shouldn’t be confused as being either Customer Service, the ability to assist customers for customer solution, or Customer Services, the ability to assist customers, for Company solution. As directive always comes from those in charge, it is only reasonable to be sympathetic towards staff, there are some genuinely brilliant employees and equally genuinely unreasonable customers, with an emphasis on fair, a firm-but-fair approach would seem to be a starting point for any organisation’s directive. Whether Customer Service or Customer Services, a business doesn’t want to hear “It’s a joke!”  Always give 100%     …..12% Monday…. 23% Tuesday…. 40% Wednesday…. 20% Thursday ….and 5% Friday.

 (Image credit: Kenny Louie   Article credit: Copyright SUF)