Guest Blog Post: Customer Service is Everyone’s Job

Hello Better Communicators!

I’m very giddy about guest blogging for Jenny and Jeremy; they are truly thought leaders in the customer service realm—I should know, I’m one of their customers (and also a former colleague). Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Jordan, and in my 13 years of being an active member of the workforce, I’ve held a position in almost every facet of front-line customer service.

Allow me to share a little anecdote with you:

Years ago, I purchased a washer and dryer from a very, very large manufacturer. Upon trying to actually receive my new purchase, I had the following conversation, verbatim.

Jordan – I had a delivery scheduled for this morning from 11:50 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. It is now 2:30 p.m. and the delivery has not arrived. Can you tell me a new estimated time of arrival?

CSR – Yes, sorry about that. What is your zip code?

Jordan – XXXXX

CSR – Ok, I can check on that for you. What is your name and your address?

Jordan – Jordan Fraser, XXXXX Street.

CSR – What city and state?

Jordan – San Diego, California

CSR – What is your name?

Jordan – Jordan Fraser

CSR – Is that your name?

Jordan – … Yes.

CSR – What is your last name?

Jordan – Fraser

CSR – The truck is out for delivery.

Jordan – Ok, coming from where?

CSR – Your house.”

I’ll pause while you shake off the weight of incompetence. … Ok. The lessons in this seemingly useless conversation are twofold. First, being successful in customer service requires actually listening to your customers. Attentiveness and subsequent comprehension is the first job of a CSR; if you don’t know what the problem is, you’re going to be hard pressed to efficiently provide a solution for them. And efficient customer service is both good for the customer and good for the bottom line.

The second lesson from my experience with this company comes from what happened after I hung up the phone. I’m sure you can imagine how mentally exhausted I was after that call, and I was agitated when the delivery truck showed up still an hour or so later. With a bit of an attitude, I opened the door for the deliveryman. He, however, read the situation and proceeded to go the extra mile to not only deliver my washer and dryer, but to set them up for me as well.

I’ll be the first to admit, it’s pretty hard to keep an attitude when someone is doing something for you that would have caused you a huge headache to accomplish. Thus, the lesson is this: customer service is everyone’s job. You may not be the reason the customer is upset, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t your responsibility to fix it. (That, and this particular CSR should thank their lucky stars for this deliveryman!)

In an ideal world, the CSR would have been able to communicate with the driver to both update me properly and alert him of the situation. The company as a whole is responsible for the customer experience, which makes working internally for the benefit of the customer crucial. Thankfully, this guy was awesome and took it upon himself to take responsibility.

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Jenny Dempsey is currently the the Social Media and Customer Experience Manager for NumberBarn.com. She has worked at tech startups since 2005. She's the co-founder and regular contributor over at CustomerServiceLife.com. She's a certified health coach, but not the kind that forces you to only eat cardboard and deprive yourself of ice cream. JennyDempseyWellness.com, the company she started, was designed to bring a new type of wellness into the workplace, one that gives you permission to look deeper into yourself, rather than just on the healthy snacks in the break room. She is the mother to a toothless rescue cat named Chompers. Avocados and veggie tacos are the way to her heart. She's also a Hanson fan for life.

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