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Do you suck as a customer?

Most of us have been through a horrible customer support experience when something went wrong with a service or product we bought, right? The goal to talk to a real person on the other side of the line seems unreachable. We say: “Cancel my card”, and the voice on the other side keep repeating back: “Did you mean extra card?”, or “I asked for NO pickles and all I can see it is pickles everywhere”. It sucks. They are there to help but we just feel helpless. It is horrible. I do agree: we need to redesign what we think as companies what it means to create better services and customer support.

“All an organization needs to do is care enough (once) to design it properly. To make a process that is easy to use, clearly labeled and well designed. To build a phone system that doesn’t torture you and then delete everything you typed in”. Seth Goldin

But I would like to bring a different perspective from the other side of the phone or the counter. I have had previous experience working serving people before and I have learned a lot about customer service working for Walt Disney World Parks. My second experience being a customer support happens to be at my actual company where we take turns to be in contact with customers to keep designing better services. We tried to design a customer support that cares, it means that we have no crazy metrics, we do have a guide but we are free to change according to our service values, we listen, we get upset when something goes wrong, we behave like humans not like machines. We do our best to please customers and deliver an amazing service. And we are also ready if anything goes wrong and we show up for them.

But lately, I have been asking this question more frequently: “is this customer right?” and I start feeling that something was not fair. I have heard over and over that “the customer is always right” but after some experience on the other side of the line, I could not disagree more with this affirmation.

Let´s go back to the basics, the first thing I started to notice was how hard it is becoming to ask for things or help using this powerful word: please. When I ask customers how can I help them, it is not rare to get back: “costs” or “give me this, give me that”. Words matter, people. The way we communicate it is really impactful, it can change the game. Most of us do not want to bea answered by an automated customer support machines but then we treat people like they are not humans and expect things to be different. It does not make any sense for me.

“I am paying for it!” I get it, we appreciate your choice for our services. And it sucks when you do not get what you wanted or something goes wrong, believe me, I know. I get upset too. But just because you are paying it does not give you any permission to be a jerk. Money does not allow you to be mean to people, not at all.

There are some days which does not matter what we do to solve the situation, the customer is never happy, never is enough, they are just mad, rude and screaming. If I say yes the customer will say no, does not matter what I say, the customer is there for a real battle. It is really frustrating. “You better do what I am saying”. When did we start to be so mad all the time? Are you really this furious because of our service? I wonder. So now we are adopting a new strategy: if we’ve tried our best to address a complaint and the customer still isn’t happy, it’s time to move on from that customer.

As a company owner, I do have the responsibility to create better services and provide a human centered and solution driven customer service. And you, my dear customer, have the obligation to be a nice and polite person. Do not treat people like garbage. Be a nice person, treat people they way you like to be treated, do not suck as a person and I have the feeling you will start getting better customer service as well. ❤