Whenever I interact with someone in customer service, I ask myself the same question: If I had a big company, would I hire them? I imagine myself as head of a 100-person organisation that makes something useful. I’ve no idea what but just go with me here. We’re located in some netherworld that is both everywhere and nowhere. My job is to find a team to interact with the world and ensure that each customer goes away happy. Or happy enough to come back to us in the future.
I started this about ten years ago and so far I have 23 employees; it bumped up by two this week. Twenty-three. In all my travels, in all the places I’ve visited, in all the hotels I’ve stayed in, restaurants I’ve eaten in, bars I’ve drunk in, shops I’ve shopped in, I’ve come up with 23 people who impressed me enough with their customer service that I’d offer them a job. If I had a job to offer.
Yes, I’m critical. Perhaps I expect too much in wanting people in the customer service business to be pleasant and helpful and not make me feel like I’m encroaching on their day, or their text conversation, or their life in general.
Yes, I’m difficult. I must be. Himself had his first vax in a local hospital and had a lovely young girl who spoke perfect English take him through the paces. I went there thinking I might get the same treatment. I ended up in tears in the corridor with a soldier trying to make sense of what I was blabbering about.
For the booster, he went to another hospital and had yet another lovely young girl with perfect English take him through the paces. I went there, too, and got the dragon from hell who yelled at me in German even though I told her in my best Hungarian that I was Irish. It has to be me, right?
I can live with that because my star customer service employees will need someone difficult to practice on.
I’ve often marvelled at how easy it is to make customers feel appreciated. To make them feel special. It’s not rocket science and perhaps it’s easier to do if you don’t meet them in person but deal with them online.
I ordered from my favourite bookstore in Ireland – The Secret Bookstore – last week. I made two separate orders. One for me, another for a mate. Mine came yesterday with a handwritten note thanking me for my repeat business (I’ve ordered from them a few times) and noting my thoughtful gift to my mate. My first thought: I must order from them again.
Before I came home, I ordered more hand sanitiser from the wonderful Esmerelda Botanicals. Not the chemical stuff, the designer perfume stuff. It’s the business. I use it more often than I would the cheap stuff because it smells so good. In it, too, was a handwritten note, thanking me for my repeat business and wishing me a happy Christmas.
It really doesn’t take much. Just the personal touch.