dinsdag 6 januari 2009

What do "7 minute Abs", "Cheese", and the "Number 8" have in common with Customer Service?

Lately I have been trying to search new steps companies are giving to their employees on how to provide good customer service. What is funny is that I keep stumbling across a certain number and that number is 8. 

Eight (8)? Why I am finding the number 8? I did not know that there was a standard amount of steps for providing good customer service? I thought there would be many? It reminds me of that movie, "Something About Mary" when one of my favorite comedic actors "Harland Williams" was a Hitchiker who "Ben Stiller" picked up in his car and  Harland said the line about the 7 minute abs vice the 8 minute abs. 

"HITCHHIKER: "7s the key number here. Think about it. 7-Eleven, 7 doors. 7, man, thats the number. 7 chipmunks twirlin' on a branch eaten' sunflowers on my uncle's ranch. You know that old children's tale from the sea. Its like your dreaming about Gorgonzola cheese, when it is clearly brie time baby, step into my office"

One article I read today said there are 8 important steps towards developing customer service. Lets take a look at them and see if we can make 7 steps vice 8 steps, like "Harland Williams".

Here we go.

1) Answer your phone 

Well, this is an important step. If you don't answer the phone, then one cannot provide any customer service. However, this is kind of basic and simple. Here is the way I look at it. Answer the phone, your open for business. Don't answer the phone, your closed for business. Is that customer service? Maybe those famous articles on this topic all over the web should revisit this step of developing good customer service. Lets deduct this step, due to it being too basic and broad.

Allright, we are now at 7 steps. I can already taste the Brie cheese. Yum!

2) Don't make promises unless you WILL keep them. 

If a garbage man, waiter, cashier, banker, salesperson makes a promise to me, then I don't really consider this customer service. This is more for a friend or family situation or a daytime soap opera moment. As a customer, I don't want promises, I want service now and good, especially when the service is making a profit. : )

Oh no! we are now at 6 steps. This is not working. I am losing the Brie cheese taste and going back to Gorgonzola cheese. Yuk!

3) Listen to your customers.

Allright, they hit it on the nail here, but this should have been number one and maybe add some additional words to this statement, like "Listen to your customer and give them or help them with what they want need from your organiation. Show support. : )

4) Deal with complaints.

I don't like the tone of this step. It sounds to negative. "Deal"? It definitely has a negative connotation to it. what about, "Embrace complaints and help the customer solve the problem in a timely matter. Show support. : )

We only have 5 steps left here. Hopefully they will be good? We are resorting to Swiss cheese now!

5) Be helpful - even if there's no immediate profit in it.

Way to go. This step shows true Customer service quality potential. : )

6) Train your staff (if you have any) to be ALWAYS helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable.

Amen! for Customer Service!

7) Take the extra step.

Good, but this step needs more. What about "Take the extra step, towards making the customer happy with your service/product." We will let this step slide.

8) Throw in something extra.

This is a good step, but one has to be careful not to just throw customers extras because the company says so. A customer may see this as a "cheesy" stunt! That something extra should come from the heart.

Overall these are good steps, but why did we end up with Swiss cheese? Do we still have holes in our Customer Service training? or is the training just really cheesy?

Why does everyone always pick on me!

zondag 4 januari 2009

Do the Garbage men really care?

Ok, where I live they only pickup your trash every two weeks. Allright I know it sucks, but its all I got. On top of that, the garbage company gave me two cans. One for trash of course and the other for dirt, grass clippings, weeds, twigs, etc. For blog purposes, lets call it the "Biodegradable can" You get the point. 

Well the two cans are easily distinguished, as they are both different colors. Being a human, I just can't get away from the mistakes in life. One night when I just got home from a long day at work, I accidentally threw a coke can in the "Biodegradable can"! "You don't mean it", I am sure you are saying right now. Well unfortunately, I had a brain fart and told my stinky brain that night that I would for sure get that empty coke can out of there in the morning and put it in the proper container.

After a long restless sleepy night, I got up, got my coffee and was late for work. With a bagel in the mouth, coffee in the left hand and my keys in the right, I had to take a raincheck on the proper disposing event of the infamous empty coke can.

Well as the week went by, I completely neglected the can, for my life to find customer service took its course once again. Come Friday, I was off and having a great day. Oh wait a minute, today is "Biodegradable Can" pick up day. I am so excited! : ) Yeah or trash pickup day! 

I put the can out on my front yard hoping for the garbage men to whisk it away. Well, as soon as the garbage man came up to take my can away, he then opened it, shook his head, and then proceeded to write me a nasty note and posted it on the can. The note said that if I ever put trash in my "Biodegradable Can" again and not the trash can, then I will get a ticket from the city garbage company. He left the can and did not empty it.

When did the garbage man grow a brain? When did the garbage man get so powerful? Can garbage men issue tickets or was that guy being a wise guy? Should I have majored in garbage engineering or garbage criminology? Why do garbage men make the most money and then go surfing in Malibu chasing crooks in the night like that cool movie in the 80s, "Men at Work"? Why does everyone always pick on me?

How can I "KISS MY, GRITS!" in the blue skies?

Did "Alice Hyatt" from the 1970s TV show "ALICE" help pave the way to great Customer Service? Why is it everytime I fly in economy I am treated like a second class citizen, but when I go into first class I am treated like a star or at least a guy who paid a little extra money to get a little bit of customer service. In fact, in economy they will scream at you before takeoff and landing, if your seat is not put up in the upright position and then in first class I can literally get away with murder before takeoff with my plastic glass of cheap champagne that cost me $1000 extra. However as soon as we get prepared to land, I am back to economy status with the flight attendant yelling at me to put my seat up in the upright position. How far does the extra money go to produce some decent customer service when flying? I don't know, it may depend on the type of people that are fyling the blue skies! Customer Service people or not?

No really, customer service is long gone. One day when I flew into Newark, NJ, I went to a bar to order a beer. Well you see, there was this Rockin' 50s diner that looked pretty cool. Based on the music, Dick Clark's face on the screen and the atmosphere, I decided to spend my hardworking cashola on a nice tasty, cold beer. 

Well when I arrive to the diner's bar, a red haired lady, that resembled "Alice Hyatt" from the 1970s TV show "ALICE" was wiping the counter with a stinky bleached white rag. After the smell of yucky toilets on the bar counter, I asked her politely for a beer and she said, "Honey, I'm closed." I then said, "its 2pm?" She said, "I ain't no chicken head, I'm closed!" As I reminded myself that I was stuck in the lost customer service world,  I then took a defensive tact (in order to get a beer) and proceeded to say, "Well, would you mine if I order a beer here and then go sit at the table?" She said, "I'm closed, allright"

Well, right there I was truly reminded that customer service was still a lost world. Will we find it again? or is it lost in the infinite black hole of our no ethics, respect, and/or dignity society? Why does everyone always pick on me? 


A blog about people picking on me.