Customer Service: If You’re Not Getting Out Of Your Chair, You’re Doing It Wrong!

dhl5266As parents we try to save the “E” word for special occasions.  Of course I’m talking about the word “Emergency.”  Last week I was sitting in the Newark airport precisely 2,500 miles from home when I received a call from my son’s school.  They informed me he was eating one of his gummy snacks and a cap had fallen off his tooth.  They tried calling my wife first but she didn’t answer so they called me.

Being unable to do anything, I told the school I would track my wife down and get her to go pick up our son.  My wife is a teacher and it’s not uncommon for her to be away from her desk and away from a phone for stretches of time.  I called her school and asked to be put through to her class.  Of course she wasn’t there so I left a message and immediately called back a second time.  This time, here is how my dialog went with the receptionist:

Jeremy: Hi!  I just called a moment ago.  Mrs. Watkin wasn’t in her class.  I’m her husband and I really need to get in touch with her right away.

Receptionist: She doesn’t carry a walkie talkie so there’s not much I can do if you already left her a message.

Jeremy: Can you or someone else go find her?

Receptionist: I’m sorry but we are really short-staffed and I really can’t leave my desk.

Jeremy: It’s an EMERGENCY with one of our kids and I need you to track her down immediately.

I call my wife on her work phone maybe twice a year and typically because one of our kids is sick.  The conversation usually goes something like that.  Could my wife be better about carrying her cell phone when she leaves her class?  Well you didn’t hear that from me.  The good news is, they tracked her down quickly and she of course called me on the verge of a heart attack after I had invoked the “E” word.  The day was saved.

I have one point to make with this blog post and if you’re in customer service, read the bold lettering carefully.  If a customer asks you to do something and the first thing out of your mouth is an excuse as to why you can’t do it, you’re doing it wrong!  Get out of your seat and sometimes out of your comfort zone and find real solutions for your customers.

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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.

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