Best Customer Service Practices Include the Human Touch

Clever Way for A Customer to Make A Point!

Are businesses ever allowed to provide mediocre customer service? Is it okay to leave customers hanging on a phone tree for more than five minutes? Are there industries that should provide excellent service more so than others?

The answer to all three questions above is a resounding NO-at least that’s my $0.02 worth. But, unfortunately, we all experience poor service on a daily basis as customers even from blue-chip enterprises to boot.

If you are a small business owner you are probably cringing at this thought because YOU know that your success lies in the quality of your customer service. So then why do we allow large conglomerates to do that to us all the time? Why do we still give these companies our precious dollars, especially when we expect more out of own business services?

Today I experienced such an experience. Unfortunately, I am dealing with medical issues associated with a loved one. As such, I had to wait for four hours in a hospital lobby while a family member had tests conducted. Since I was just sitting there I had hoped that I could log on to the Internet and quietly get some work completed. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they had a daily wi-fi access code, however, I soon found out that the system does not allow access to Apple devices only PCs. Say WHAT???

PHONE TREES DRIVE YOU UP A TREE!

I think I'll Skip This Place.

This wasn’t a life-threatening situation and I could do other work offline, but this example just got me thinking about all the other times that I’ve been frustrated by poor customer service. I attend dozens of small business connector meetings and each always stresses the importance of guest relations. So why is excellent customer service applicable to small owners and not large conglomerates?

A HUMAN VOICE GOES A LONG WAY IN CUSTOMER SERVICE

I would rather do anything than call my satellite provider, healthcare company or phone service. I know that when I call them I’ll be sitting there for a while. Phone trees that put you in sequence are annoying as are the companies that don’t provide any voice connection like Facebook. Most tech companies now provide email customer service and hide their main phone numbers. I don’t care how great you are in answering email support questions, yes I’m including Google, in this rant as well. There are times when a human voice is the best possible service a company can provide.

What companies drive you crazy with poor support and what companies do you think deserve some applause. Do tell.

A Novel Idea – Selling Used Books at Public Libraries

Newport Beach Public Library Foundation Supports the Need for Books

The other week I ran across an idea which I just loved!  I was conversing with some Foundation members from the Newport Beach Public Library and marveled how they could afford to produce a top-notch speaker’s series and other such programs.  And what I found out was incredible.  They are able to produce their special events because of funds raised through the used bookstore in the library. The used bookstore is run by volunteers and it brings in up to $200,000 in extra revenue for the library each year.  I know that Newport Beach is an affluent area, but other public libraries are ascribing to this as well. There’s money in used books, even when you only charge 50 cents to a couple a bucks for good books.

Then today, as I sit in a local hospital’s waiting room – I noticed that they were selling used books as well – a novel idea for those enduring the wait for a loved one to finish a surgery or procedure.  If one forgot to bring a book or something to pass the time – they can pick up a book for two bits.  And the money goes back to the hospital volunteer program – excellent! Bravo to all out there involved in the used book process for public gain!

I didn’t bring a book with me since I’m always touting my laptop – but I got a treat too.  I was able to hook up to the hospital’s wi-fi for free and they even brought us danish and coffee to help us endure our wait. Now that’s customer service and a wonderful touch. They truly understand that it’s harder to wait for a loved one to have a procedure than have the procedure done to you! I asked that question on my Facebook status today and hands down that’s how people felt.

Used books are worth millions!

So, I guarantee that if you follow my blog, that you are prolific reader. As such, when you have moment or two, peruse your personal library and see if you can donate some of your books to your local public library.  It’s a small way to give back – but it definitely makes a difference. It can help your library keep its doors open to the public.

You give a little, but you’re giving a lot.

Donate.

Best,

Cindy

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