Photo courtesy of Vaikoovery

Photo courtesy of Vaikoovery

Have you had this happen to you? You call a company with a need to have a problem rectified. You roll the dice and Representative X takes your case. You explain your situation and Representative X, while being compassionate and understanding, also tells you that her hands are tied and that there is no way to resolve your issue. You press a little further, but are again shut down and told that what you need is not possible. Your next line of attack is to ask for a supervisor. And then that person’s supervisor. And perhaps that supervisor’s supervisor’s supervisor and then, voila!, your request is suddenly granted, your needs are met, and you go back to your life (minus 45 minutes of your day). Or have you learned from experience and you now request to speak with a supervisor as soon as your request is denied the first time, bypassing much of this “game” of being sandbagged?

How often do we do this very thing to our customers? If we know from our personal experiences how frustrating this process is, can we challenge ourselves to provide our customers with the solutions they need OR quickly put their cases on the desks of those who can do so without the ill-appreciated “dance” of being the service dead end?

In some companies, this might require a paradigm shift to valuing the customer relationship above all else and believing that it is the very thing that will drive profits. In others, it may simply take a dose of humility on our parts. We all want to be the ultimate purveyor of service. When we truly want our customers to be happy and we value our positions as customer service representatives, it can be hard to admit to ourselves (let alone our customers) that we are, in fact, not the people who can best meet their needs. This can lead us down the slippery slope of holding on to the case, even when it means disappointing the customer, rather than letting go of it so that a higher up or a different department can solve the problem.

Rather than being the person who can definitively answer no, let’s decide to task ourselves with the duty of ensuring our customers are always quickly speaking with the people who can say yes. Let’s replace “I understand your problem, but there’s simply nothing we can do” with the very thing we ourselves want to hear when we contact a customer service department: “I’m unable to help you with this problem, but I know just the person who can”. Let’s implement this shift in our approach and see how removing the dead end affects our customer satisfaction ratings and our repeat customer sales.