The Putting A Name With A Face Kind Of Customer Service

I have worked on a customer service team for almost 13 years now and I think I can count the number of times I’ve met a customer face to face on one hand… and I may not need my thumb.  Back when I worked for TierraNet(The world’s best webhosting and domain registrar), we had a couple instances where customers walked into our office  and said “I’m here to renew my domain name.”  In our office that was enough to send a bunch of introverted computer types scrambling for cover.

I’ll admit that left to my own vices I would communicate with coworkers and customers 100% handshakingof the time by email and instant messenger if I could.  I have learned as a manager and customer service professional that it is all too easy for effective communication to fall short over those mediums.

We have a local customer that has had nothing but problems over the past year of using our service.  To their credit they have been incredibly gracious and more than willing to spend the money and time to get their phones working properly.  Many customers in their position would have left long ago in search of a better solution.  After a lot of work and testing by our tier 3 team, we are fairly certain we figured out what was causing their issues and proposed what we hope will be the definitive solution.

To ensure that we executed the plan properly I traveled to the customer’s office and helped our customer, Dan set up the phones.  After several tests this is looking promising and I am extremely hopeful.  In all, it was great to put a name with a face and I’m sure to them, great to meet a representative for a company that has been the target of some angst over the past year.  Fortunately, they were just excited at the potential of fixing the problem.

When working with a customer on the phone or even through a ticket system in a tier 2 capacity it is so easy to ignore, delay and just generally forget that these customers are PEOPLE.  I am reminded today as a customer service professional that regardless of whether I see a customer face to face, they are people just like me.  Going back to the golden rule, maybe that’s just enough reminder to make sure I treat them the way I want to be treated.  In customer service, we are in the business of serving PEOPLE.  Never, ever forget that!

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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.

4 comments

  • This is a great reminder for anyone who serves customers remotely. It’s easy for us to disconnect a bit when we can’t look someone in the eye, read their body language, or even hear their tone of voice.

    I’ve found some anecdotal research that suggests the type of rapport-building you described in your story is highly correlated to outstanding customer service. Here’s a summary of what I found:
    http://www.toistersolutions.com/blog/2013/6/11/connecting-rapport-to-five-star-service.html

  • First off I would like to say great blog!
    I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I have had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Many thanks!

    • Thank you so much for reading our blog and taking the time to comment. Regarding your question, I find that inspiration for posts often comes in bunches and I am very careful to write down all of those ideas so I don’t forget them. That way then it’s time to write, I already have a good start. There is a discipline element to it too with posts I know will be longer and require more research. I can waste time putting off my need to write a story. Hopefully if you love blogging none of it feels like too much work.

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