Time and time again we hear “The customer is Always Right!”, yet we all know we are not always right nor are our customers.  The challenge is to figure out what will create a satisfied customer and over all, the customer deserves to be respected.  In Lean training, students are taught to ask “Why” at least five times when trying to get to the cause of the problem.  When we talk to customers, sometimes  they don’t know what they want.  As a service person, asking questions will lead to an understanding of what they need, not what we are selling. 

Recently, as a customer, I was receiving not so stellar service on the phone with the phone company, at the end of the call where I didn’t not get a solution but had spent 90 minutes either on hold or talking with people, the rote end of the call was

Thank you for your business is there anything else I can do for you today?

My response was “Yes, I’d like a $50 gift card for my time.” 

We can’t do that was the response and then again the rote “Thank you for your business. . .”.

I gave the same response 2 more times and at the end of my third response I’d like a $50 gift card I added “If you give the same response, I will, too.  How long shall we do this?”

This time, the service person just said “goodbye“. 

Respecting the customer means understanding what their need is and if we can’t fulfill it, being honest and letting them know the alternatives or finding a way to gracefully end the conversation.

What is your customer service story?