Most jobs are customer service related, which means they are subject to mob mentality stereotypes. If you really think about it, such mythological attributes are an obvious development in any given society, and like all non-truths, they can be very harmful.
If “harmful” sounds too dramatic a word for this description, consider this: as humans, we communicate through implied notions. We hear things to be true, and unless verification exists to contradict these ideas, we accept them as truth—either actively, or subconsciously.
So open your mind and take a look at these five customer service myths and do your best to identify them for what they are—pure nonsense.
Customer Service Myth #1: Customer Service Is Beneath The Affluent.
For some reason, the notion of “customer service” is met with the assumption of a lower economic class. It’s true that most minimum wage jobs—like fast food and retail—are completely reliant on customer service, but even the wealthiest of employees need to flex their customer service muscles every now and then. Take doctors for example. They may not be answering phones, handling money or assisting with paperwork, but they absolutely have to interact with patients—bam! Customer service. On a broader scale, look at corporate CEOs. They may be calling the shots, but they still have to negotiate with outside vendors and other third-party entities in order to keep cash flow in the green. Look out! That’s customer service. How about politicians? You think those votes come in on their own? No way—voters are their customers, and they have provide excellent service on a consistent basis if they want to keep their elected positions.
I think you get the point. Customer service isn’t a “job,” it’s a philosophy, and even though a career title may not overtly say “customer service representative,” you’d better believe that there are going to be some customer service skills at play regardless of pay grade.
Customer Service Myth #2: Customers Are Always Out To Get You
It’s a classic fallacy: you run into one angry customer who wants you fired, therefore they’re all out to get you. Sorry buddy, I’m afraid that you’re exaggerating—big time. Unless you really do deserve to be canned—I’m giving you benefit of the doubt because we’re friends, right?—you have come across the one disgruntled customer in a pool of millions who probably wants everyone (s)he interacts with removed from the general vicinity.
The big thing to take home from this concept: people are all different, and therefore customers are all different. Never let one (or two, maybe three) angry customers set the standard for all customers. Customers, in general, are not out to get you. Chances are they probably won’t even remember you (not an ideal situation, but it’s a reality). So unless you really deserve it, a small handful of disgruntled customers angry with the world aren’t going to cost you a job.
Customer Service Myth #3: Customers Expect Everything For Free
Most customers don’t expect something for nothing because it’s a format that simply doesn’t work. The entire basis of capitalism in founded on the trading of goods or services for money, and people understand that. Customers don’t generally expect anything for free.
With that said, some people are swindlers—there’s no denying that—but they are a minority. The problem here is very similar to myth #2: a tiny percentage of customers don’t play by the rules of society, and for some reason it’s these people that set a hypothetical standard for the general population. Don’t let them corrupt your way of thinking.
One thing to keep in mind—providing things for free isn’t always bad. For promotional purposes, free samples and the like can be a great way to get paying customers to come back. You may also come across situations where a refund or other freebies may be tossed around to right a wrong. These are ideologically different situations from the “everything must be free” mindset, and customers will recognize them for what they are.
Customer Service Myth #4: Unhappy Customers Will Always Complain
Customer service providers should always try to make customers happy, and the general idea is that the unhappy ones will let their woes be known. This concept is generally true, but it leaves out a major factor that should always be considered: the silent customer. And believe it or not, they’re far worse than vocally unsatisfied one.
Unhappy silent customers won’t complain to you or request to speak to a manager, but two very important things happen when they come into play: first of all, they probably won’t be coming back to you, which is exactly what you don’t want to happen. And second: you’ll never know what upset them, and therefore won’t be able to apply an easy fix to a potentially damaging situation in the future.
Never assume that all customers will leave your establishment (or get off the phone with you) in a satisfied state of mind. Talk to them, ask them how things are, and get to the bottom of any issues they might be having.
Customer Service Myth #5: Customers Understand How Your Business Works
Businesses are usually complicated entities, and every single one of them runs on their own unique process. There is no way a customer is going to fully understand the ins and outs of your company, so never assume that they will. It is the job of a customer service representative to act as the middle-man between a patron and a corporation—always be ready to translate things well to customers so that their experiences are as transparent as possible.
This particular myth is relatively hard to recognize. A good many of your customers are bound to admit that they have no idea what’s going on, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones left in the dark. Always be wary of customers who act like they know everything, because chances are they really don’t. At the end of the day, they’ll appreciate your efforts and may even come back for more next time.