I’ve had good customer service, and I’ve had bad customer service. I find that when I have bad customer service, I don’t usually get upset right away; I’ll usually give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they’re having a bad day or whatnot. They’re people also and everyone is entitled to a bad day, but if they continue the bad support for more the a day or 2 then it’s time to turn up the upset-o-meter…
You don’t have this same snap-reaction when you’re at a restaurant because you usually only see the person once, but you base your stay at the restaurant itself. Have you ever boycotted a restaurant because of bad service? I can assure you that I have; I even wrote a post about when to tip and when to skip. One episode of bad service, and I can deal with it, and if the food is good enough, I’ll give it a second shot. But the second time I get good food but bad service, the hammer is officially dropped.
It is sad because it is a lot like the internet crowd and your RSS feed. People will hang out with you when you write a good article or 2, but it’s a fickle world, toss up 2 bad ones in a row and you’re going to be dropping that count just like restaurants drop customers.
“But Hank, there will always be new customers to come to a restaurant, so they don’t need them all.”
Well, sure there’s a sucker born every minute, but just imagine keeping both the seasoned veterans AND the new sucker. You’re then keeping a good base of people while adding new customers to your bankroll.
How can you save or make money as a buyer by having good customer service?
If you have the skills to properly manage a conversation, then I can assure you that you are a good negotiator; half the battle is being good at talking. If you come off sounding courteous and genuine, you’re more likely to win the favor of the person you are negotiating with.
Take a car salesman for example. Most of the conversation is run by him/her and you’re likely sitting there just answering his questions that he has specifically designed to get you to sign on the dotted line. Turn it around and you drive the conversation and don’t let him ask his questions and I can assure you that you’ll save money on the transaction. (Also make sure you’ve got “the folder“, but that is another post.)
An example of good customer service.
I just dealt with Ryan from ProjectWonderful on a Sunday afternoon. I wasn’t expecting a response back until Monday, but we traded about 2 or 3 emails in a quick span. I wasn’t expecting it, but it was presented to me. He went above and beyond what I expected, and I can assure you I’ll be a repeat customer there. His customer service made him money and I will be saving money by the tips he gave me. A win/win situation.
An example of bad customer service.
Back in the day I was getting hit up for life insurance. I was young and naive, and thought I was making the right decision in purchasing my Universal Life Insurance from Hartford mutual. The sales rep was nice (notice I say sales rep and not investing rep because you are sold insurance and annuities, not INVEST in them) and the product “seemed” legit. Her customer service skills were very good, but apparently MY investigative skills hadn’t been primed yet.
Anyway, 4 years later I realized the err in my ways and I promptly told her that I was going to be dumping the policy in lieu of delicious term life insurance and she threw a fit. She started ditching my calls and my emails which are both unprofessional and rude, but also started saying I was making a very bad decision in doing so. I guess it was a “bad decision” because I was taking money away from her monthly paycheck, but the whole transaction then just left a sour taste in my mouth.
I was only 50/50 sure I didn’t want to go with the product any more, and I may have recommended her to someone that WAS in the market for insurance in the future, but not anymore. I’m 100/0 on my decision to recommend her now. I’ve had a few inquiries since then and I can tell you one thing I’m not recommending.
In customer service I think one of the biggest things to think about is the other side of the coin. Think of how the person you’re dealing with will react to your questions. Think about how you can create win/win transactions. If you’re the seller and you’re keeping their best interests in mind, you’re likely going to get a better tip or sale from it. Additionally, if you have like interests, you can often times make a trade that doesn’t even involve money for the service.
If you’re the buyer and you’re interacting the same way, you’re going to get better service as well by being courteous. Think back to “using your gut instinct” when you decide whether or not someone has giving you bad/satisfactory/exceptional service.
Often times the best thing you can do is think of how what you are saying will be taken by the person you’re doing business with. Treat them how you’d like to be treated and I can assure you both sides of the transaction will be much better off emotionally and more importantly, financially.