Most customer experiences you’ll have are fairly average. Not great, not horrible, just somewhere in the middle. Very often, that average experience occurs because the grand majority of people in customer service positions don’t have the training they need to give you exemplary service every time.
Excellent customer service isn’t something we’re all born with. It’s learned. Yes, you’ll meet people who really stand out and make you feel great for having done business with them, but you’ll meet a lot more that just do their job and get by.
You’ll also meet people that suck.
These people might do their job, but they’ll totally wreck your customer experience, destroying every shred of trust, confidence and pleasant feelings you might have held in their regard. These guys are the ones that yell at you when you don’t get it. These are the ones that treat you like – let’s face it – crap.
You’re just another number. You’re not important. You’re an idiot, a pain in the ass and a problem client they wish would go away. Plus, they have the nerve to still send you a bill.
Oh yeah. There are a lot of people like this out there, people who have no business dealing with the public and being some company’s front man representative. They may be total rock stars at what they do, but they fail big time at customer service.
Completely, utterly, totally.
The worst part of people who suck is that they very rarely believe they do suck. They don’t think they do a bad job. They just think they’re smarter than you, out of your league, full of ego and pride and self-importance. They’re in a position of power and holding the cards of control.
Very often, they also believe they have a right to treat you badly.
After all, you’re a pain in the ass.
Are You One of the Ones that Suck?
You’re probably shaking your head thinking, “I’m glad I’m not that person. That isn’t me. I’m nice to my clients. No one says bad things about me. In fact, all my clients say they’re happy with my work!”
That’s what they tell you. What are they telling other people?
You see, the thing is that people won’t tell you that you suck. We simmer and glower. But we won’t come right up to your face and take a stand.
It takes guts to say, “Hey, this is wrong!” Sticking up for yourself requires courage. You need to be prepared for conflict, for arguments, and even more, you need to be ready to defend yourself, sometimes for a long period.
Most of us don’t really feel comfortable with that. We don’t like conflict. We might end up in a real mess, a huge fight. We might feel unable to back up our opinions, or we sense there’s no point, that nothing will come of sticking our neck out. No one’s going to listen or care anyways.
Very often, we feel the other person is stronger. He’s in control. He’s in the position of power. He’s holding all the cards, and we feel helpless to change the situation.
And if we complain, we might end up facing worse consequences than we already are.
So we say nothing and do nothing. We mutter and feel bitter. We might bitch to our friends or family, but we already know these people are safe. They’ll listen, they’ll support us. They’ll probably agree, too.
“That’s awful!” they’ll exclaim. “You should tell him to…”
But we don’t tell him.
We’ll Tell Everyone Else, Though…
And here comes the consequences of sucking: bad news travels fast.
People loooove bad news and dramatic events. The town talks about the couple who had a fight, the local newspapers talk about a bad car accident, Twitter talks about the latest scrap between bloggers who disagree, and the televisions talk about the horrible eye-witness reports of plane crashes and pandemics.
Yeah. We love drama. We soak it up like a sponge. That drama-love is hardwired in us, right in the core of our brain where our amygdala sits waiting for the rush of a fight or flight reaction. We’re bad news junkies, firing ourselves up and getting excited over the worst news possible.
A bad customer experience? Hey, we’re all over it.
“You’re kidding me! He did that?! You should…”
We should, but we don’t. We certainly tell our story, though, every last dirty detail, to anyone who’ll listen. It makes us feel better. We get people on our side, we fire them up to and we feel superior. We have power again. Status. We are strong.
And it’s vengeance.
As we’re sitting there telling other people about the crappy service we just received, we’re firing ourselves up more. We’re mad. We’re feeling back in control. And we’re dragging Mr. Bigshot through the mud like we want him to eat it.
It’s our way of saying, “Treat me badly? Yeah? Take that, motherf***er.”
A Bad Rap Costs You Big Time
If you’re that big shot who smacked someone down with poor customer service, you’re in trouble.
The news of just one negative experience can travel to thousands of people within minutes these days. We have all sorts of tools at our disposal to spread the stories, the gossip, the rumors – and not just within our circle of friends or peer group.
Internationally. Worldwide. Around the whole globe.
Think about that a minute. You screw up with one customer – without even realizing you did, or maybe even with full knowledge that you’re pissing that person off – and suddenly someone halfway around the world in Australia knows everything about you.
Your service sucks.
Your business sucks.
That person you dissed? He’ll never do business with you again. Ever.
Ever. Big deal, right? Good riddance? He was a pain in the ass anyways, right?
No. You lost the client that you had, and you lost every client that could’ve been – all because these people heard you sucked. Within 24 hours, you’ve lost tens, hundreds, even possibly thousands of customers you could’ve had.
Well, you could’ve had them if you’d been a nice and patient guy.
The moral of the story? No matter who you deal with in a day, don’t suck. Because your reputation – and your business success – is riding on it.