Readers who have even a casual interest in customer service are well aware that customer service is terrible worldwide.  What no one seems willing to admit or address is that the main reason service is so poor is because of customers themselves.  Customers seem to have abdicated their responsibility in the relationship.  They seem to have an expectation that whatever they want will be served to them on a platter.

4 things customers should do to improve customer service:

  1. Be informed – just because customers think a product “should do” something doesn’t mean that it does. Products aren’t necessarily self-explanatory so customers should expand their knowledge to ensure the products and services accomplish what they need.  Own the process.  It is NOT incumbent on the company to do this work for a customer.
  2. Be prepared – reading a technical manual cover to cover will help customers get the most value from products. The company wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of writing the documents if it didn’t want you to read them.  If customers want the most value from the product they must invest time to know its intricacies.  And honestly, the lazy customers who aren’t willing to do this work aren’t smart enough to own the product in the first place.
  3. Be patient – when customers call support lines they often have unrealistic expectations that the person they are talking to understands the product. However, because customers have driven prices so low, companies have been forced to employ low-cost “technicians” who know little about the product.  This is not the company’s fault and customers should be prepared to accept unhelpful and sometimes rude associates.
  4. Be willing to pay more – it is difficult to run a profitable business. When so much of a company budget is dedicated to customer service (see above) customers should expect that prices will increase.

The pivot point is that in order to improve customer service customers themselves must take a more active role in the process and should accept mediocre service.  When customers lower their standards they can meet companies “in the middle.”  When this happens… both win.

Hope I got your blood boiling!  Links to other tongue-in-cheek musings for April Fool’s Day!

april

What improbable ways have companies treated you to earn your well-deserved loathing?

The Problem with Customers
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