Friday, July 08, 2005

I've been noticing different customer service situations this week : from picking up a new pair of glasses to having the mobile phone company ring and explain how to set up multimedia messages.

'Dealing' with marketing calls at home is also a valuable resource. Their emotional content of opening mood and message is somewhat ruined when they ask for the husband, or only know you as an entry in the telephone book. While not wanting to upset the caller unneccesarily, their phone call is an unwanted intrusion with a request for information or monies. Especially with the high price of landlines these days. However the professional ire with which some of them negate any request not to participate is almost stalking, bullying or just plain get-out-of-my-face material. Valuable practice in self-assertion can be to aim to politely and with the same verbal power decline the call and hang up. Let it go.

When I picked up the new set of glasses I had rung the previous week, because they were overdue; the attitude of the young staff was casual, which they probably were as part of the rotating shift amongst the several city shops; and judging from the casual nature of their clothes, the job wasn't well paid. So I took the service offered with mixed emotions, and determined to get the second pair elsewhere. They probably have little interest in their job.

The mobile phone customer service was excellent. I had applied for assistance online, stating very clearly what i wanted to solve. I received an email back - without the automatic automated response. I was taken through the process (of putting multimedia ability on the phone which basically means connecting to the internet from it) and was amazed at how like a computer it is. It was all done with a great attitude, no talking down at all (ie no ego-playing getting in the way). I was probably an easier customer and was prompted to ring them back if it didn't work. I really felt like i was a valuable customer. I thanked him after for ringing out of work hours. He probably likes his job.

That brings back the memories of getting the phone. I spent a night without a functioning one, and then headed down to where i'd seen a special on a pre-paid camera phone. The shop had sold out the afternoon before (ie before my phone had gone down). After i finally found, after a long walk, what i wanted - a prepaid camera phone - the shop owner and I spat and spated at each other, with the result i got an absolutely beautiful phone, for, i am beginning to think, at quite a reduced cost. It was like a son-in-law and mother-in-law, i tell you; so eventually i broke the ice by asking him what 'bulshit' was in his language - he turned to the young shop assistant and they discussed the equivalent word.

Then the emotional blast of turning on the telly last night to see the london bombings; and the absolute precision and professionalism of the emergency services, led and controlled by the police force. They kept stressing that their services were very highly trained and wow did it show. The absolute gutter scraping of the journalists was in sharp contrast, but heh, that's their job. No, the unity and worth of the emergency services was astounding.

The mobile phone seller didn't have [polite] customer service skills - he was a manager and a businessman, but he gave me a great deal and professional service (checking the phone in shop, explaining the warranty, instant negative reaction as to whether he carried accessories), and we had a bit of fun despite protocol. His shop was chaotic, but worked in its chaos : a little bit of magic to lighten the day up.

Meanwhile, I'm still broke and somewhat battered, yet a pattern is emerging and progress has been made.


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