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165055507Most customers/clients don’t call your or my businesses just to chat, or even to tell us how great of a  job we’re doing.  In just about every case, the person calling has some sort of a problem that needs to be fixed:


  • A computer that isn’t working
  • A toilet that’s leaking all over the bathroom floor (we had that at our house this last holiday weekend)
  • A fuse or circuit breaker that keeps shorting
  • A leak in the roof
  • Gutters that are acting more like a waterfall than a drainpipe
  • A letter from the IRS (or worse, from the New York State Tax Department!!)
  • A legal notice that just arrived in the mail that got the adrenalin pumping
  • A medical or dental issue that needs to be addressed, but not to the extent that an ER visit is necessary
  • Etc


You get the idea – these are the types of things that happen to ALL of us at any given point in time.  In fact, because these are universal experiences, shouldn’t we expect the person answering the phone to understand our situation and be compassionate?  It makes sense – they should!  But unfortunately, most times that just doesn’t happen!  In most cases, the customer service provided by businesses (small and large) is simply abhorrent!!  When you call with a crisis (and the fact that the caller perceives it as a crisis means it is) the last thing you want to hear is:


  • Some heartless automaton on the other end of the phone whose thinly veiled efforts to end the call is obvious.
  • Or someone from India whose name is Andrew.
  • Or a call center where they just read a script and woe to you if you can’t fill in the blanks.
  • Or someone who sounds like they just woke up from a night of binging
  • Or, God forbid, an answering machine or voicemail that tells you “Your call is important to us….”   (Obviously it’s not, or they would have answered!)



It really isn’t that hard!  Train your staff to put themselves in the callers shoes.  Try to understand what they are going through and allow your own human-ness to be on display.  (And yes, that can be difficult after you’ve had your 8th call in the past two hours, but it’s critical!!).  Here are some principles to help you provide the level of customer service that our grandparents used to expect:


  • Human Beings want attention!
  • When they call us, they have a need (or they probably wouldn’t be calling!)
  • They are looking to us for help to resolve that need!
  • They need a hero!  (And who better to fill that role than you?)
  • And if they don’t get the hero they’re looking for, they’ll go somewhere else to find him/her.  (Shame on you if that happens!)


The moral of this little story:  NEVER MISS A CHANCE TO EXCEED EXPECTATIONS!  If you follow these principles with EVERY customer interaction, you’ll almost have no choice but to succeed!!


I hope you found these insights as interesting as I have!


To Your Success,

Jeff Mehl