Shopper Marketing and Customer Experience Management

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the reaction-less customer service executive

Story Courtesy: notalwaysright.com
A customer comes up to the cash register holding a jersey with a large ’2′ on it.
Customer: “Hey, I want one of these jerseys, but I want one with a ’1′ on it.”
Cashier: “Unfortunately, you got this out of clearance, right? We don’t carry back stock for anything in clearance. If you didn’t see a ’1′ jersey while you were there, we probably don’t have one, sorry.”

Customer: “Okay, but I want one with a ’1′ on it.”
Cashier: “I’m very sorry, sir; we don’t have one right now.”
Customer: “I want a ’1′ jersey! It’s my birthday; I want to be number one, not two!”

Cashier: “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever know. Two, can be as bad as one. It’s the loneliest number since the number one.”
Customer: “…okay.”
(Surprisingly, after hearing this the customer buys the ’2′ jersey.)
Manager: “Did that just happen?”

Yes Mr. Manager, it DID just happen. Your cashier just looked at the customer as a person.

If you were in the store with your 8yr old son who insisted on a ‘1’ jersey, would you have attempted to handle the situation just the way this cashier at the departmental store did. Then why treat a customer any differently?

emotionless faceHave you ever cracked a joke with a customer service representative who refused to acknowledge it? Who emotionlessly, expressionlessly, reaction-lessly went back to what he was doing? Well, you feel kind of silly yourself but what is frustrating is when it you encounter a reaction-less robot when you have a complaint or even a query.
Imagine asking a customer service representative for the lost and found service because you think you may have lost a phone in their store and facing a straight face robot pointing in some direction. He dare not empathize or offer to help, lest I assume the store is taking responsibility.
We have handed very tight scripts to customer service representatives and a fat manual of appropriate body language. Sometimes it feels like the customer service representatives are also given an ’emotions allowed at work list’. And I can bet the list is very very short.

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One comment on “the reaction-less customer service executive

  1. Prasad
    April 30, 2013

    Customer Service training must have been done to standardize the response of the different personalities that a company hires as part of the CS staff. The idea might have been to neutralize any personal biases, influences, etc. and ensure one brand one voice response.
    Unfortunately the customers cannot be standardized as they come in all shapes & sizes fueled with all kinds of emotions.

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