Customer Service Goes Both Ways, Folks

Apparently, not everyone’s mama has told them that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. You’d think that being a business owner who needs to deal with customers would automatically give said business owner a bit of insight on what it’s like to deal with the public. Unfortunately, that insight doesn’t always translate into corresponding empathetic action.

I once arrived at the home of a neighbor and fellow business person—let’s call her Hilde (not her real name)—just as she received a call back from a customer service rep. We waved hello, smiling at each other. As I waited for her, I couldn't help but listen to Hilde talk to the poor person on the other end of the phone. I was literally gobsmacked. Her tone was nasty, her words were mean and demanding, and even her body language was aggressive. And it wasn’t even over a long-standing, complicated issue, which might have at least explained why she was being so rude.

I can...

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