We’ve all been there. The frantic phone call to try to get your cable fixed. The standing in a post-holiday line to return that not-so-perfect sweater your aunt bought for you. While there are undoubtedly a number of times when these interactions go off without a hitch, the ones that come to mind first are often the ones that leave us most jarred, jilted or just plain angry. As consumers we have been taught that we deserve to get what we want, when we want it. (See my colleague Sarah’s post from last week…)
However, a recent article from “US Airways” magazine (yes, my iPod battery died on a recent flight and I started exploring the in-flight reading material) got me thinking about the other side of the equation: the customer service representative. How do we really interact with these people? While many of us likely dread the call to question an electricity bill or cancel a gym membership, I wonder what can be done to make these relationships more effective. How can we make these interactions more about collaboration and problem-solving than venting and blame-placing?
The above article emphasized how important this relationship really is: “Customer service and customer relations management is going to be so critical to all corporate futures. […] It’s going to be all about cultivating, exploiting and collaborating with consumers.”
So, where do we go from here?