Once upon a time, in a far away land (like New Jersey or something) there lived a young man who loved customer service. He loved it so much that he became the best in all the land at providing it. Each day, when he greeted customers at his job, they would all be so pleased to know that he would be addressing their needs. The young man, let’s call him Tariq, became so highly regarded by all, that he was nominated and won the highest honor in the whole kingdom. In fact, he received a personal note from the king and queen, requesting his presence at a ball that was to be thrown in his honor.
What should I wear?
Tariq, having not focused on himself in so long, realized that he had nothing to wear to such a gala. So he went to the local tailor and asked for assistance. The tailor, whose name Tariq did not think was important enough to remember, showed Tariq every suit, and tuxedo in his shop, but nothing pleased the honoree. With every outfit that the tailor displayed, Tariq’s patience would shrink and shrink until, finally, he dismissed the tailor in a huff, and decided to wear his own clothes instead.
Bad Hair Day
Disappointed by his experience with the tailor, Tariq decided to get a fresh haircut, so he went to the local barbershop. With him, he brought a picture of the hairstyle that he felt was suitable for the event and demanded that the barber, whose name Tariq did not think was important enough to remember, cut his hair exactly as the picture outlined. As the barber tried to explain that Tariq’s hair was not long enough for such a cut, Tariq rudely interrupted, snatched the picture from the barber’s station and dismissed the barber, leaving in a huff, deciding that he could cut his own hair.
“That’s what we do…we give a gift”
Disappointed again, Tariq thought that it might be nice to offer a gift to the king and queen as a token of his appreciation for such an honor. So he went to the local jeweler and asked for the finest in gold, silver, and precious gems for his review. Tray after tray of the best that the jeweler had to offer was brought out for Tariq, but the jeweler, whose name Tariq did not think was important enough to remember, could not find anything pleasing. Tariq rolled his eyes, dismissed the jeweler in a huff, and decided to bring something from his home for the king and queen.
Look Who’s Talking
Later that day, Kenny, Jayson, and Ariel, (the tailor, the barber, and the jeweler) all sat down to lunch. The conversation turned, as it usually does, to their customer experiences. Each of them had a horror story about their experience with Tariq. As they were lamenting over their burgers and fries, they did not realize that one of the king’s knights, Sir Whathizname was at the same restaurant, and heard how terrible they were treated. The knight took one last sip of his mochaloco lattechinorio and sped off to the castle to alert the king and queen.
Guess what happened next
You got it! The knight spilled the beans, the gala was canceled, and Tariq, with his old suit, bad haircut, and cheapy gift, sat home and watched American Idol reruns.
The moral? Maybe there isn’t one. Or maybe a person can be so good at one thing, obsessed even, that they fall out of balance. I wonder how many of us in customer service have ever stopped to consider how good we are at being customers? Are we as patient with people who can’t seem to get it right for us, as we would want them to be if the situation was reversed? How willing are we to compromise when it comes to our expectations? If we are not as willing as we would want others to be, there’s a problem.
And with that
People will still be people, no matter what we do. Ask yourself, however, if someone were to approach me with a problem in the same way that I approached the last person that tried to help me, would I want to help them? Everybody deserves a fair chance to make a good impression or at least to offer good support. It’s tougher to do so if our initial approach is less than cordial. Of course, if your service representative is less that helpful, turn up the heat as needed, but also consider how you would like to be treated if given the same situation. It couldn’t hurt, and you might just take back something that you can use with your next customer interaction. Who knows?