“Thank you for calling Farmers this is Matt”. I never know what is coming next. 99% of the time, the interaction is pleasant with a current client or a prospective client. Once in a while though, it goes nuclear. The person on the other end of the phone comes at me like they are shot out of a cannon and it is like they aren’t even taking a breath between insults. Left hook, right hook, left, left, left, and a big right haymaker.
As a business that has access to the public, these interactions are part of the deal. It is these interactions I would like to address today. My expectations for receiving acceptable customer service might be higher than others due to the fact that I try so desperately to GIVE great service day in and day out. It is vital to the lifeblood of my business. So when I am out as a consumer, when I receive poor service, I, like you, am very disappointed.
I have come across one phrase to start things out on the right foot. It is the one I wish people would say to me when I am approached with a problem to solve. It’s simple. It is 4 words. “I need your help”.
It is a wonderful way to start a conversation. It immediately empowers the person on the receiving end of the statement. Their job is to help you and to be ASKED to do so is not as common as you would think. More often than not, customer service reps are getting blamed for things that they didn’t do. All of a sudden, they are in a situation that is hostile, they are on their heels, and they feel defensive instead of collaborative. “I need your help” is received much differently than, “You need to fix this” or “Your company screwed this up”. Do you want someone to help you because they want to help you or because they are afraid of you?
The job of customer service rep can be full of long thankless days. If you as a consumer start a conversation that feels like an olive branch is being extended or you are ready to work together to find a solution, you will absolutely receive better service.
I use this every day. I use it when I need something fixed or when I need clarification on something. I use it with my employees and I use it with my kids. I use it when I know I made a mistake and when I know THEY made a mistake. Try it the next time you need some help from someone. You will find yourself having pleasant interactions with others and you will find your problems will be solved quicker. They will WANT to help you because you asked for their help instead of demanding it.