Yes Man: Legends of a Customer Service Superhero

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s a bird, It’s a plane….no wait, it’s YES MAN! Customer service extraordinaire; putting out fires, saving kittens, responding to 10 support tickets at once, and managing one phone call per ear. That’s excellence at its finest, a true multitasking God. We’ve all been there, man or woman alike, in the front-lines of the customer service trenches, battling it out with a front that just seems to never let up. Sooner or later though, you just have to sit down and really ask, is yes really the only answer to awesome customer service? We all want to be there to fix, to help, to be the rallying beacon of support and safety for that customer. This is why we do our jobs, and it is why we are paid to do it amazingly well.

This is a specialized society, one in which we are entitled to our customer service batons and sashes and wear them proudly. We are the mechanics of the digital era at Phone.com, on the fore-front of engaging and solving the technical problems of our time. Sure, we might have to disassemble and break things to see how they work, but in the end our job is to get things working, and get the experts of whatever particular trade back to their task at hand.

I find it enlivening to help others, but realized today that there’s a fine line between being a MultiTaskingcustomer service professional, and being the fabled Yes Man that just doesn’t know when it’s finally time to hit the brakes, press pause, and think through a situation. Customer service is a two way street, products and services require some degree of input and participation from the customer’s side, otherwise we’d all be fresh out of jobs. Some people are absolutely amazing, with a willingness to learn the service, to gain knowledge so that our job is just to reinforce the potential gaps in the future for their knowledge pool. And then, there’s others….

Today I had a customer whose hand I had been holding for the past month. It started out innocent, a few simple tasks due to errors with our service and kinks that still had to be worked out. Okay, I can work with this, I’m sure we’ll get it fixed. One month later and my patience is getting a little strained, so I try to initiate a conversation via email to get a solution going with the customer. The response? Something to the lines of “I pay you guys a lot of money, fix this.” This is going to be fun. Suck it up, I say to myself, strap on that utility belt and hold your chin up, you put on the Yes Man suit! But then I realized, wait a second, Yes Man isn’t even a cool superhero. I can’t shoot lasers out of my eyes, don’t get to wear any cool costume (no offense fabled Phone.com shirt), where’s the fun in this? With that realization, I decided to change an old habit today, and establish some new, healthier habits for myself.

  • Customer service is a two way street. Help me, so I can help you! Working with customers flows best when there’s a mutual exchange between both parties. When there’s an interest and desire for both sides to participate, things always go better. Take that extra step when working with a customer to teach them how to use your service or product, don’t just do it for them. Create a customer that can be their own superhero, and not need Yes Man in the future.
  • Yes, no, or maybe? It’s okay to not know the answer to a situation, and it’s okay to admit that. As Yes Men and Women, it’s okay to reach out to others for support! We don’t need to know everything, that is why we work in a team environment. Next time you feel like saving the day, remember that the guy in the cubicle next to you might have a cooler super power than you for this particular situation. No, you might not know the answer, but yes, you will work your darnedest to find one.
  • Balance, balance, balance. As a customer service master, always know your balancing point, understand your personal limitations and know when you’ve pushed your edge. Don’t be afraid to press pause, take a deep breath, and take a situation in a new direction, even if that might entail not saying yes to an immediate request.

Are there some new habits that you’d like to form with the customer service you provide on a daily basis? Or maybe you already have an amazing superhero talent when it comes to dealing with clients that you’d like to share? We’re all superheroes at the end of the day, in our own unique way, so what makes you shine?

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