Where Poor Customer Service Comes From

It’s amazing.

Considering how much time, money and effort companies spend on customer service training; we’re never really taught to become better customers ourselves.

Because in most of the day’s transactions, we’re the customers – not the servers.

But if we truly want to have a joyful, remarkable experience, we can’t just sit back and wait for people to read our minds and make us happy.

We have to help them help us. As guests, patients, viewers, clients, patrons, members, visitors, users, callers, listeners and customers, we have to make ourselves more servable.

Otherwise we’re equally at fault for not getting what we want, the way we want it.It starts with expectational clarity. Sharing what’s important to us. Letting people in on our preferences. And delivering a vision of what happiness looks like.

Take a massage studio. If we don’t want the therapist yapping our ear off during the entire session, we need to speak up and let her know that silence is essential to our relaxation. Otherwise we end up getting mad at her for being chatty and ruining the experience, when all we had to do was take two seconds to say, “Oh, and I prefer to keep quiet most of the time.”

Being a better customer also has to with vocalizing dissatisfaction. Letting those who serve us know that we’re not happy with the exchange. Unfortunately, this is harder than it sounds because, as humans, we dread confrontation. We avoid conflict. And we don’t want to be difficult.

We’d rather suck it up and eat the overcooked steak instead of making a fuss, sending it back and risk being the topic of conversation in the kitchen.

Because nobody wants to be the freak at the table.

The problem is, this kind of passivity hurts both parties.

It hurts the server because he misses out on valuable feedback from his customer. Our silence robs him of the opportunity to create a service moment and a story worth repeating.

But it also hurts us. It reduces our experience. We get annoyed that an employee missed the mark, and we selfishly assume it’s because he’s an incompetent dolt who doesn’t listen to his customers.

When in reality, the real reason we’re so unhappy is because we made that employee do unnecessary guesswork.

We never helped them help us.

We just sat there, winking in the dark, hoping they would read our minds.

And unless we’re getting our palm read, that’s not the smartest path to happiness.

Are you a good customer?

For the list called, “58 Questions about Questions” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor

Never the same speech twice.

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