Tips & Best Practices for Family Entertainment Centers

It Might Sound Hokey, but . . .

I saw this sign in a restaurant the other day. It cracked me up and got me to thinking. You may call me hokey with this week’s newsletter but I had the coolest customer service experience this weekend with (if you can believe it) the PHONE Company.

I try to NEVER call the phone company. The frustration is more than I can stand. My experience has been that I don’t get to speak to anyone who lives close to Texas!

I don’t know about you, but I have a difficult time believing that someone around the world can really help me solve my problem here at home. I respect the job that all customer care centers are trying to do, but it irritates me, so I hope that I never have a problem.

Unfortunately, I did the dumbest thing. I pay my home phone bill online. I love online banking. However, I have an inactive account for an old phone number in my bill pay list; and I paid that account in February rather than the active account. So when I received my bill that is due in March, it showed that I was late. I almost paid double just to avoid calling the customer service line. I did call, and much to my surprise, I reached someone that sounded like they live on this side of the pond! She listened to my goof and assured me that we could get it taken care of. True to form, she couldn’t take care of it herself but she could wave the $6.00 fee that was assessed as a late charge. She took the initiative and asked me the question as to whether or not there was a charge. COOL! I love initiative. She explained that she needed to send me to a different department that could resolve the issue completely. It appears that they have a lost payment department at the phone company. Who knew?

This lady was also someone that speaks my language as her first language. This is my lucky day! Remember, this is a mistake that I made. She acted as if it was not a problem at all. She even gave me an example of how she had made a similar mistake herself. It happens. I had the proof from my bank that the payment had been sent so she asked me to fax that over. I also found a way to make a claim at the bank, so I did that and sent it to her as well.

I’m only a couple of days from the call but I have confidence that the problem will be resolved. It struck me that I probably was on the phone as long as I normally am in this type of situation. But my frustration level was – well, I wasn’t frustrated at all. I felt supported and like the people on the other end of the line really cared about fixing my problem.

So here’s the hokey part. I raised my children in the 80’s and 90’s. Do you remember Care Bears? I do, and I immediately got the sense that we should give Care Bear awards when our staff gives great guest service! I told you it was hokey. I’m going to take it one step further and give you an acronym for CARE.

  • C – Communicate (Be there. Talk to your guest. Listen.)
  • A – Assure (Give assurance that you can take care of them.)
  • R – Resolve (Get to a point of resolution. There’s always a way to make things right.)
  • E – Enthusiasm (Do it with your own level of enthusiasm. It matters to a guest that they matter to you.)

Have you had a surprising great guest service moment in the last 2 weeks? Feel free to share it here!



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  1. Jim Goodwin on February 24, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    I recently went to our local Lowe’s to get two keys copied. After entering the store, two Lowe’s employees asked me if I needed help. I asked where I could get keys made.

    Here’s the good part – the young man – Juan Garza – didn’t just tell me or point in the direction of the key counter – he personally escourted me to it, introduced me to the man making keys by saying “This is Joe – he’s been making keys for 125 years, and he will take care of you.”

    Within five minutes, my keys were made, and I was out of the store feeling pretty good about the $6.00 I spent for my keys.

  2. CJ.FOX on February 25, 2010 at 10:43 am

    wow can not belive the phone company i would of just paid it.
    GOOD EMAIL means good job
    thank you care bear i like

  3. Jared on February 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Sounds like you were dealing with T-mobile. I used to work in a T-mobile customer calling center. They train you to exercise empathy even when your story isn’t completely true, so she was probably just blowing smoke up your tail-end, but the fact remains, customers appreciate empathy. Customers expect to get in touch with someone on the other end of the phone (or other side of the counter, glass, etc.) that just doesn’t have an interest in their issue. It’s amazing how far empathy can go. It’s simple: stand in the customers’ shoes.

    T-mobile has won the J.D. Power & Associates award for customer service ump-teen years in a row now (I think it’s actually 8 or 9), and while I don’t recommend the cell phone service they provide, I would highly recommend them because of the customer service they provide. It goes a long way.

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