Saturday, August 17, 2019

Improving customer service

For today's customer service discussion please consider the following comments from two different customer service representatives:

1. "Can I help you with anything else? Thank you then and have a good evening."

2. "Can I help you with anything else? Thank you then and have a good evening."

Now obviously the second is vastly preferable to the first. But why? After all, both of these statements are exactly the same.

Oh, right, both of these statements are exactly the same! This may turn out to be more difficult to explain than I thought.

Perhaps I can explain it with tone? Picture the first statement as spoken by someone using a script, as reciting, as someone endeavoring to be the physical embodiment of the institution they are representing. Picture their statement as an expression of policy. Its intonation devoid of warmth and life and presence.

Now for the second, picture a person, talking to you. Just a person saying something because it seemed like the good thing to say at the moment. It could have been something else.

The first type of intonation is most common from phone help representatives of all kinds these days, especially the kind one has to wait on hold for, but it also comes up in its share of physical venues, particularly when there are large corporate chains involved, or also with notably bureaucratic institutions. These robot fetishising people have a tendency to fall apart when anything slightly difficult or off-script is needed. When I encounter this first type I am wary of the sort of help I'll receive. The lack of humanity kind of freaks me out and disturbs me a little

The second type, merely a person working, doing their job as they can without disappearing into it, might be found anywhere, because, well, people are really just everywhere

Oddly enough this second type makes me wary of the help I'll receive too. And they commonly freak me out and disturb me slightly as well, what with their being humans and everything. 

But it is, nevertheless, still a notable improvement.


  1. So on-target with this. Both types exemplified by long interactions this past week with an investment company and my clinic. And maybe a third, that I'm not remembering? Oh, surely not! In each case, the "Anything else" comment had me wanting to scream "Please, no! This has been bad eough already."

    Contrast this with the guys at the yard waste site, who greet me pleasantly, and help unload branches from my poor long-suffering car. I always have the feeling that they really would like me to have a nice day.

    1. I have nothing to add to this other than it is nice to see that it was clear and have your addendum!


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