Customer Service is About Relationships
December 26, 2011
I write letters to companies. My goal is to share an understanding. An understanding where I’m coming from, how it affected me, and an opportunity for additional dialogue. Often times these are positive letters, thanking an employee and letting a supervisor know how much I appreciated it. Other times it’s a complaint, written to be constructive, honest, and most of all without malice - unless of course the problem is egregious.
I’m perplexed at the common responses to complaints from customer service departments, be it a knee-jerk defensive stance, an over-reaction towards compensation, or simply a canned response. I’m not looking for a fight or prostrate apology. I’m looking for an understanding, a recognition and ownership of the problem. A human interaction. A firm handshake.
Mistakes happen, and they always will. But like any human relationship, the best ones are built on honesty and integrity, not on defensiveness or overly pleasing. Customer service departments are in the unique position to be that human face for an otherwise nebulous corporate entity.
I just wish more companies would see it this way. It’s the little things, but over time they add up to a lot.