I've built my life around learning about, reflecting on, thinking of and caring for people -- their motivations, best interests, livelihoods, lives. I've lived different chapters of this; and I do believe the way I care and how I care has changed across the years.
With customers eager to blast bad news about a company, product or experience, small business owners now have to start taking customer service more seriously or else one minor mishap could send current patrons away and practically shut the door on any potential new clientele.
My local Social Security office is a depressing place -- a gray building with metal blue chairs that aren't meant to be sat in for 30 minutes, let alone for the two to three hours that it takes to get any matter resolved here.
It seems as though one doesn't need any qualifications to be in the customer service arena. I think you do need some qualifications. They are: a love of helping people, enjoying one-to-one communication, and deriving some joy/satisfaction from seeing a total stranger satisfied.
For those of you interested in breaking out of cubicle life and starting your own thing, I highly recommend tapping into your biggest pet peeves. But before you do, consider the following words of advice.
Being in business means more than just selling your services or goods. In 2013, being in business means selling, monitoring, engaging, social sharing, online reviewing, reputation managing, generating, and -- most importantly -- listening.
In the last two decades, it seems everything in our world has undergone some sort of change -- from the way we watch our entertainment, make purchases, or even communicate. But some things don't change.
Let's face it, not every interaction or transaction will go off without a hitch. However, the way you handle these opportunities in disguise will be a driving factor in customer loyalty and return/referral business.
When it comes to dealing with customer service issues, no two situations are alike, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. However, patience and a willingness to listen will rarely steer you wrong.