Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Don't Talk To Customers!

Imagine your co-worker or employee picking up the phone and on the other end of the line is one of your customers in need of help. After a short explanation as to why they are calling your employee responds by saying "Wait a minute your a customer? I don't talk to customers."

Hard to believe? Well it just happened to one of my friends/clients a few weeks ago. What's even more distressing is that a customer service representative from the bank he was calling actually forwarded this poor guy to this person's extension for advanced help. Imagine his shock when that was the response he received. As you can imagine the conversation and the banking relationship proceeded to quickly decline from there.

Talk about a Ripple Effect of poor customer service. I would say that people surprise me but that is rarely the case these days. Situations like this happen every day in every industry. If you don't think it happens in yours, look closer.

There are many ways one could say this bank is to blame. Perhaps they hired the wrong person. Maybe they should have better equipped customer service reps to handle all conceivable issues so needless forwarding of customers for second level help never occurs. Or maybe, just maybe, customers and the importance of them wasn't explained to an employee buried beneath the bowels of the organization. Rest assured if it wasn't properly explained to that employee then it likely wasn't properly explained to a lot more employees who might encounter a customer.

Whatever the issue is one thing is for sure, this bank likely lost a successful growing company as a result of it. I know for a fact I won't ever do business with them! No one in an organization should ever feel comfortable to say I don't talk to customers. Regardless of position, responsibility, seniority, department, whatever....Everyone within an organization is in customer service.

I mentioned a few days ago about checking your common sense for understanding. Perhaps in building upon that point I should ask:

Does everyone at your company know that the customer is the single most important reason they receive a little thing called a paycheck? And with that paycheck comes a responsibility to both the organization and its customers to step up to the plate and help whenever they are called upon to do so.

If your answer is no (or hmmm I am not sure) then we should really talk.


Ann said...

I teach an 8 week course in customer service. I always start the first class asking for feedback from students about customer service, and if it is a part of their job. By the end of the semester they see things from a different perspective. I hope I send them out into the business world realizing that customer service is everyone's job.

Anonymous said...

Do you know of the most incredible things about you Steve is that you really make us that read your words of wisdom think.

Your approach to life is such a turn on. Did I just say that? I guess I did. Tell your wife I am sorry.

Theresa St. John
Orlando, Florida

Steve Harper said...


We should absolutely talk sometime!

Ripple On!!!


Steve Harper said...


I appreciate you comments. I am hoping when you say "turn on" that it means you are turning on to better customer service. That I can assure you my wife can and will endorse.

Ripple On!!!