A Customer Called Us Idiots…And They Were Right

idiotI hope we haven’t solely used this blog to paint a picture of 100% success and perfection.  As Jenny said in her last post, we aren’t aiming for perfection, we are aiming to be awesome. The fact of the matter is, we are far from perfect and make mistakes.  I want to highlight one that I found particularly amusing.

Let me start with the way the customer responded in our customer service survey when we asked if they would like to be contacted back.

Don’t bother, you guys are absolute idiots

I actually changed a word or two so as not to offend our readers.  In this case, I couldn’t help but agree with the customer.  We got our signals crossed and told this customer he owed $400 when he owed $9.  That’s a big oops.  What was my response to the customer?  I called immediately and worked with them to sort out the issue and made sure we were all on the same page.

As the guy in charge of customer service for our company, these sorts of snafus are scary to me.  We were fortunate that we got the opportunity to correct this misunderstanding and save a customer.  Here are a few things I learned from this screw up:

  1. Processes Are Really Important- Without giving a lot of detail let me just say that within customer service, the better we are at establishing and following processes, the less likely this is to happen.  The more customers we have, the more critical processes become.
  2. We Aren’t Perfect- If we spend all of our time blogging and tweeting about how awesome we are, it’s easy to miss a big mistake.  The lesson here is to close our mouths long enough to open our ears and listen to what our customers are saying, or shouting.
  3. Transparency Is Good- I am extremely blessed to work for a company that is strong enough to own up to a mistake and works tirelessly to make things right.

Is it fair enough to say that we WILL make mistakes?  It’s not a matter of IF but WHEN.  I think the fact that we learn from them, listen to our customers and make things right makes us awesome.  Not perfect but AWESOME.  What do you think?

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

2 comments

  • Talking about mistakes.

    Ari and I, along with few other individuals were recently invited with talk about leadership and company culture to a group of entrepreneurs in NY.

    One speaker told a story about two programmers, working for a an automated trading firm, that introduced an algorithmic error to the system and during the few hours it took them to detect the bug, the system already lost 2 Million dollars.

    They were called to the CEO and were sure they will get fired. The CEO asked about the bug, what happened and if they learned from that incident how to make sure it does not happen again.

    The CEO listens was satisfied and said “thank you, you can go back to your work”.

    The programmers were very surprised and asked the CEO, “aren’t you going to fire us?”.

    The CEO said, “are you crazy? I just invested 2 Million dollar in your professional education!”

    The point is, as Jeremy indicated, mistakes do happen! What you learn from them as an individual and as an organization is what counts.

    Thanks
    Alon

    • That is amazing Alon. That kind of leadership is mind blowing to me. Thank you for the amazing sub-post to my post 🙂

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