Are you a complainer or a go with the flow-er? How do you feel about the saying, “squeaky wheel gets the grease”? Is it more important for you to make your point/get your way, or to move on and enjoy your experience without losing another precious moment? Do you feel that as the customer you are always right, or do you look beyond yourself and want what’s best for everyone? We received a letter today from Tom who sold us the new Dodge truck and now I have customer service on my mind.
Myself, I despise the “squeaky wheel” mentality and in my many years of customer service, found that the only people who practiced it were the ones concerned only with themselves, wanted something for nothing, and were prepared to get what they wanted whether it was fair and deserved or not. Pretty laid back, I would say I am a go with the flow-er. Or at least I used to be.
I am still easy going except when it comes to special time with my family, such as summer vacation. No, I don’t suddenly become an unpleasant consumer, but I do seem to desire better quality service and products. I guess the reason is that these times together as a family, away from work, and bills, and responsibilities are so rare and cherished that I cannot tolerate wastefulness.
Even so, I find “complaining” to be useless. In my customer service experience I was always the one with “the power.” If you were unhappy it was my job to make you happy. You wanted free merchandise, cash back or even a hug, I had the power to hand it out on the spot. Do you know who NEVER got what they wanted? Squeaky wheels and rude complainers. I could count on one hand the number of people who did not walk away from me smiling and I rarely had to give away the farm to do it. As a consumer I walk the same walk.
That said, ain’t no glory in being a door mat either. If someone delivers bad service, let them know how they could serve you better. Delivery is the key here. If you’re a jerk, your “suggestions” will not be well received. But if you can truly accept the fact that no one MEANT to deliver your entree late or give you the wrong product, your delivery will be sincere and well received. Everybody’s happy!
We were in Cedar Point a couple of years ago and our room was really shabby. Clearly, someone did not take much pride in their work. In addition, our key cards didn’t work. It took some 15 swipes for the strip to take each time. When I went to the front desk to discuss it with someone there was somebody else there throwing a hissy fit because her key didn’t work. The agent was trying to calm her, making her a new card, and apologizing. The customer continued ranting that she wanted her money back and she wanted to talk to the manager. She was told that the agent was the manager and they don’t give refunds.
I was at the other end of the counter with another agent. I laughed with her, told her about my room and the key frustrations and asked if there was anything she could think of to turn things around for us. She said, “You bet!” She excused herself for a minute and returned with a new key to a different room and a voucher for dinner at the restaurant onsite which was delicious. I was thrilled. I didn’t want more than what I deserved, I just wanted to enjoy my time with my family. Two weeks after we returned home, we received an apology from the hotel and a voucher for a free hotel night next time we’re in town. We were so surprised. It was completely over and above what was expected and also what was received by the complainer from the same night.
Now that is an extreme example of the kind wheel getting the grease and it won’t always work out your way. There are bad customer service agents out there just like there are bad customers. But trust me, my favorable results have far surpassed the negative. And doesn’t it just feel better to walk around nice than squeaky?
What are your best/worst customer service experiences? I’d love to hear tales from both sides!