Rules of Dealing with Customer Service

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By: Corey Lack

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As someone who works in a face-to-face non-food industry customer service position, it’s clear that some people don’t understand how to deal with the employees they need to speak with. Often times there are a number of frustrations on both sides caused by, not the employees, but the customers’ reactions. I’m not saying there aren’t bad customer service workers, because there are, but hoping to point out that both sides play a part in the experience. Hopefully, I can point out some mistakes certain customers make so that it can be at least a less annoying situation.

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The first tip may seem small, but you would be surprised how often failure to follow it leads to problems. This first rule is read all posted signs! If there is no one else at the counter, but there’s a sign that says something along the lines of “please wait here,” then wait there until you are called. Just because the employees are not actively working with a customer does not mean that they are not working on something. An employee glancing up to see who just walked in the door is not an invitation to immediately go over to their desk. Also, with social distancing still in effect, many places have signs pointing out new rules, such as designated places for customers to stand and once those places are filled, additional customers must wait outside. Finally, if a sign tells you to inform the employee of something, do so at the beginning of the interaction as it may be too late by the end of it.

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The second rule should be obvious, but again, it seems to escape certain customers. This one is rules are the rules! Basically, if an employee tells you that you need additional paperwork or that there is an additional fee, then that is just how it is. The employee didn’t decide to make that happen. In all likelihood, it was decided multiple levels above the person that you are speaking with. As such, the employee would get in trouble, possibly even legal trouble depending on what you’re attempting to get done, if they do not follow the rules exactly. So, crying or getting angry at the employees does nothing except giving said employees headaches and stories to tell later.

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The third rule also is one that seemingly escapes the notice of customers and that is that the employees have lives too! Yes, the employees are not people that just grow out of the floor and exist solely to help you. They do have lives out of the job, so taking the timing of your arrival can help with frustrations on both sides of the counter. Sure, when the doors are open, employees are willing to help you, even if it happens to be five minutes before closing time, and if it’s something small, then it won’t be a big deal. However, showing up at that same time to do something that involves carrying a folder will be seen with frustration by the employees as it means that they will be at work longer than normal. Also, showing up after the doors are locked and expecting to be let in regardless is understandably quite rude, even if there is a last group still being helped. This goes along with the second rule as many places have rules set as to when the stores and offices close and these can’t be changed by the low level employees in charge of actually enforcing them. It does not matter how fast or important you claim your issue is. There are very few situations that are as sudden as such people act like they are that can’t wait until the store opens the next day. Also, the employees are not stupid. They know that if it’s that important that it has to be done that day, then you wouldn’t wait until the last minute to try and get it done.

 

Finally, this last rule has to do with businesses that have to work with customer service employees often. This rule is don’t expect special treatment! Now, to clarify, there are a number of businesses that involve going to customer services to deal with certain aspects of their own job. As a result, many customer service locations have special rules to deal with these types of customers. For example, they may require additional or different paperwork than an individual or they may only be able to only do a certain number of transactions after a certain time. Now, the second example is to prevent companies from overloading employees with work at the last minute of the day, so as to prevent the employees from leaving late and giving them overtime. There are, however, occasions where businesses can have rush transactions and, as such, may be given an exception to the second example’s type of rules, but do not expect or insist on getting this same treatment all the time. It is rude and obnoxious to the employees and show very little respect or consideration for them.

 

So, those are the rules that come with dealing with customer service. They’re pretty simple and easy to follow. Basically, if you follow the golden rule of treating them as you’d expect to be treated, then the process will be a lot less painful.

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