Monday, June 6, 2016

Customer Service: Do You Have Unrealistic Expectations?

Customer Service: Do You Have Unrealistic Expectations?
Do you have a problem or are you the problem?
By Cindy Pitts Gilbert  Buford Weekly Illustrated  June 1, 2016
I recently wrote an article about both good and bad customer service. We are ready to pounce on that terrible customer service representative, often times because that is what we have come to expect. Have you ever given something away or put it in the back of a closet, or perhaps just thrown it in the trash because returning it or dealing with the issue is just not worth the effort? There are a lot of people out there who are unhappy at their job. They don't offer the best service because they are frustrated with the circumstances they are in. We don't know why they act the way they do, or do we?
Recently, people have shared a few stories about that terrible customer they had to deal with. It is easy to get upset with the customer service person. You do not have an attachment to them so their feelings at that moment may not matter to you. Maybe they are not solving your issue or meeting your expectations, but what if your expectations are unrealistic? What then? Someone shared this story with me about their customer nightmare. A consumer went to a store and purchased a large piece of electronics. Employees at the electronics store showed them that the item worked and there is even surveillance video showing they tested it for the customer.
The next day the customer returned to the store with a shattered screen and wanted their money back, claiming that the item was still under warranty. An argument ensued and the police were called. The officer told the store owner that in a court of law the warranty sign meant that they had to give the customer a replacement. The store owner felt forced to replace the item and then purchased additional signage stating that the warranty excludes items broken after they leave the store. I'd love some feedback from our readers on this. Is it just me, or is this an outrageous and unrealistic expectation? I started recognizing similar stories over the last few weeks.
A store owner felt forced to issue a refund on an item that had a 90-day warranty because the customer just did not have time to return it and held onto it for 5 months. Is this customer's expectation unrealistic? Do you ever get irritated with someone in customer service because they do not refill your tea quickly enough when the restaurant is packed or leave a penny tip; to not only prove your point but insult the server as well?
It is important to believe in our consumers and make sure their experience is the best it can be, but as a consumer it is also your responsibility to be realistic and not set the bar of customer service so high that we cause a business to lose money over something that is truly our own fault, or because we have unrealistic expectations. It is always a good idea to put yourself in the other person's shoes as much as possible when dealing with a potential conflict in customer service. Everyone with a job has to deal with a client or customer at some point. Be sure the finger you are pointing should not be at pointed at yourself.