Today, I had to write a letter to a very unfortunate service rep and CC the CEO of the company. It was a drastic move but one I don’t regret for even a second. As an agency owner and super fancy negotiator of contracts and vendors for my clients, I am here to tell you that your service impacts sales BIG time. A few of the things this young person did wrong really drove home the point that service at the front lines can win…or lose, the customer.
Assuming every customer has the same level of technical skill:
This is a difficult one so I will tackle it first. Chances are if I am purchasing your marketing automation software or beyond basic accounting platform, I have been through the basic versions of what you offer. So there is no need to explain terms like “WYSIWYG” or “net operating loss”. Of course, no service rep will know this right off the bat, there IS a grace period there. However, if you continue to ignore when I say that I understand the basics and we should move on, you are providing bad service.
Not throughly reading my issue:
We run this firm at breakneck speed. The fact that I will take time to identify an issue, ensure it’s not a “clear your cache” issue, take screenshots and write an email to your support team about all the things I’ve tried, is OF BENEFIT TO YOU. It takes me time, which equals money. When you ignore it and give me the FAQ answer or offer a solution I specifically stated I already tried, you insult me and my time. I then, as a paying client, must go back in and restate the issue and ask for help again, because you couldn’t be bothered to do your job. Nope.
Needing to be right:
I definitely identify with this need. Unfortunately, the service business is not the place to flex those muscles. One of the first things I teach my team is even when they feel completely right about something, they need to defer to the client, explore the issue and find where they can strengthen their accountability (hint: there is always a place where you can be accountable when things break down…yes me too). This is especially important in service. For example, it might be a bad idea to get into a helvetica vs arial battle with a self-proclaimed font nerd. The need to be right can take a small issue that was sort of bothering your client and turn it into a raging debate, especially if you’re wrong. Copping to a screwup is never easy, but it’s part of the service gig.
When a service professional acts bothered when I bring up an issue, it’s akin to a car salesman being irritated that I walked into the showroom. Are you freaking kidding me? Unless the service rep is also the salesperson is also the account manager is also the CEO is also making the product is also marketing the product, then service is your ONE JOB. Research and problem solving are a part of that job, which I am assuming you are paid handsomely to do. Part of my job is making sure that the tools I provide my team and clients work the way they’re supposed to and ensure that through stringent staying on top of your rear until you fix it.
All of the above are applicable to nearly every service and/or product provider, but are especially true for someone who works in a startup or who is bringing a new product to market. Have you experienced truly stinky service (less than stellar doesn’t count BTDubs)? Leave it in the comments!
I should start (or finish) all these posts with saying that while I offer advice or point out mistakes that I see, I am not immune to any of them myself.
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