Hmm…I really love to rant. It’s an outlet that allows me to share some of my frustrations with the world. Is it a healthy way to release your emotions in a digital media space? Who knows, but I think it’s better than letting all the pent-up frustration go nowhere and if it does help an enraged man bear from acting out over petty things then why not. That being said, like everything else in this world, there is a time and place for rants and raves. Now is not one of them. Today is about the thought process of service management and the perspective of the parties involved in general disputes over services rendered.
The Customer’s Perspective:
The customer is always right. Is that a fact? Perhaps to a degree and within reason. It can be the acceptable standard when escalating a problem if you are prepared to be open-minded, fair and patient. Irrespective of whether it’s about a product that you are unhappy with or a service you are subscribed to that’s just not meeting your expectations. You still have to maintain your demeanour whilst enforcing your right to demand a better experience. You do have the right to raise an issue when you are disgruntled but at the same time, it’s only fair to give the person or company, providing that service or product, the opportunity to rectify it in good faith and in a timely manner. Yes, occasionally you need to draw attention to yourself because you feel like the probability of the company paying attention to your issue is like hoping someone will hear you fart in a Thunderstorm. Sometimes it’s necessary to take steps that do cross the boundaries of fair chance so that you can get the parties responsible to step up, react more quickly and pay attention. Provided that you have tried all the support avenues available within the company to resolve the issue internally and only then, needed to escalate. If you haven’t done so then you are wasting both the company and other customers time. You are not more special than the next individual and by right should be using the support channels in place prior to escalating. I’m not saying don’t escalate and most of the time there is valid reason to do. I’m saying stop being a Prima Donna baby, escalate in due course by following fair and equal processes that allow business’s the opportunity to rectify the problem at hand. At the end of the day, what it really comes down to, is using your own discretion about what is acceptable for you as a customer / client in terms of your expectations, quality of the product delivered and the after sales service management. In other words, loose your sh!t when it’s appropriate to do so.
The Companies Perspective:
Now let’s play the devils advocate and look at this from the other side. At the end of the day a business is there to grow its client base, protect itself and make a profit. There is no way of sugar-coating that. They are there to provide a service and there is a general level of acceptable quality which most companies do deliver on consistently. Remember that one of the hardest things to achieve in a business, is the balance of expense incurred on resources vs. demand, dealing with skill drains due to staff turnover and having inadequate support structures in place because of poor performers. Essentially its a continuous balancing act. Furthermore, there are customers that unfortunately do take chances and abuse the services offered. These issues obviously have a negative knock on effect that goes way beyond just the dynamics of the service relationship between the company and it’s clients. It’s not easy as we “the clients” seem to think when we pump our money in to the companies in exchange for services rendered. It’s not all black and white. Irrespective of this, businesses need to acknowledge where their faults lie, what their priorities are and they need to understand that their survival depends on a good support structure both internally and externally. As the saying goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link.
All things said and done, I think there are few things in general that companies can focus on to help mitigate these perceptions of poor performance and service delivery irrespective of the situation.
1: Develop a clear and easy escalation tracking system so that your customer have a way to communicate their frustrations if the normal channels don’t work
2: Hire and retain A players in your business
3: Invest in a good social media team
4: Keep communicating, listen and manage expectations of your clients
5: Develop a K.M.S to provide history on the clients, quickly train staff and expedite solutions
6: Empower your support desk to do as much as possible
It’s not all about spending money, having the latest technology or working harder. It’s about working smarter and showing people that you care.