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Photo Credit: Andrew Kubai

Every now and then, even the most experienced rep comes across a situation which taxes our abilities as representatives of our companies and our skills as human beings. This is one of those situations where a consumer nightmare was flipped around due to some astute and dedicated support staff savvy.

This story begins with a friend of mine who worked at the customer service desk of a certain toy-filled chain store which shall not be mentioned. Since I wasn’t there, he can tell it best.

“Summers were typically slow at the service desk, at least compared to the Christmas shopping season and the maelstrom of post-Christmas returns. Of course there are always problems with products and services, but minor claims like broken toys or incorrectly sized pants didn’t prepare me for the trial by fire I was about to experience.

“It was a lovely afternoon, the sun peaking around cotton swab clouds, the summer air clinging to shorts and sundresses as they came through the automatic doors. As per usual, the phone rang: ‘Customer Service, how can I help you?’

“Her voice quickly turned the seasons from summer to winter. ‘I can’t believe you’re store would put its name behind such a piece of…,’ is how it started, roughly.

“The woman proceeded to give me an impassioned description of what went wrong with her swing set. ‘It was nearly impossible to put together. When we finally got that crappy thing together, my daughter took a practice swing on it and the crossbar bent, scaring her half to death…’ The only way I could imagine it getting any worse was: ‘when my brother was investigating why the bar bent, it collapsed on him.’
“‘Oh god, is he okay?’

“‘Yes, but he’s pretty shook up.’

“Clearly I was dealing with a worst-case scenario. Digging deep into my customer service reserves, I started with that age-old customer service tactic: ‘I’m really sorry about everything, ma’am. We’ll take care of everything. We can replace that swing set or give you a better one at no cost to you.’

“Initially resistant, the idea of a better swing set piqued her curiosity. I also offered her a brief in-store tutorial on how to put it together, as I’d helped my friend assemble a similar swing set.

“Later that day, she showed up to swap out her new swing set. I personally unloaded the old swing set from her car, rolling the new one out and loading it into her car. During a slow period, I’d whipped up a brief stick figure drawing of the best way to put it together. While explaining the assembly process, I would point to the various steps to illustrate the process.

“Afterwards, she told me, ‘When I first called, I was done with your store. If you hadn’t been so friendly and helpful, I would have taken my business elsewhere,’ adding, ‘you sure I couldn’t coax you back to my place with a six pack to help me build this thing? Maybe help paint my house?’

“Naturally, I politely declined.”[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]