What Great Customer Service Means

I have always been very particular with customer service. I value how businesses deal and take care of their clients even more than the product or service they offer sometimes. The lack of it or poor performance in that department may cause the downfall of many businesses. 

While big companies can put up an entire department specifically for customer service purposes, it does not mean they can already guarantee excellence on the matter. No, customer service should not only be limited to the department named after it. Every single member of the company should be able to provide excellent customer service and care. 

I have been reminded of this after my recent banking service challenges. Knowing that the customer service of the said bank is only reachable using telephone, I went to a branch nearby and asked a bank personnel for assistance in fixing the issue. Sadly, my time and effort in going there were in vain. Worse than the fact that they cannot fix the issue there, they are unwilling to extend assistance with the reason that I should contact “customer service.” 

This kind of situation is highly frustrating to clients and could cause them to drop the services altogether. So if you are a part of a team, may it be specifically in the customer service or not, you should still provide your clients with support. 

If you cannot fix the client’s problem, direct them to the person who can. Clients appreciate it when you do your best to help them even if you cannot fix the problem. You are not expected to be perfect, but limiting yourself to saying “no, I can’t help you with that” is definitely not what a client wants to hear because you are supposed to give helpful information at the very least. 

Show eagerness to help. Even if you cannot fix the problem, you should not display an attitude of indifference. The client approached you for help with the hope that you can. Despite not being the right person to do it, your eagerness to help them and direct them would mean a lot to them. 

Be polite. Understand that clients become frustrated or disappointed when they encounter issues or problems with the product or service you offer. When they become temperamental, do not take it against yourself. Put yourself in their shoes, acknowledge how they feel, and continue to deal with them with politeness. 

You don’t have to be in the customer service department to give proper customer care. Being part of a team that provides products or services to clients should be reason enough for you to provide great customer service. If you want your company to thrive, do not only do your specific job description, go the extra mile and make the people you serve happy and satisfied, just like how the other bank personnel in another branch made me feel – happy and cared for. 




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Should You Automate Customer Support?

A business, especially one operating online, can benefit from automated services such as a chatbot, online forms, and the likes. It can address a lot of weaknesses of manual work, such as immediate response. However, when it comes to customer support, human contact should still be available. Here are some of the obvious reasons why:

  1. Comprehension. While artificial intelligence provides us with the means to provide information to our clients in real-time (i.e., chatbots), such technology has limits in comprehending client concerns. Chatbots can only be programmed to address fundamental questions or concerns. More often than not, clients have questions or concerns that are more than that. Most questions cannot be answered by the answers found in FAQs. Some situations need an in-depth understanding of an actual person.  
  2. Probing. As mentioned above, chatbots or answering machines may be programmed to address basic questions or concerns, but these advancements have limits. If the automatic answers do not satisfy the client, the chatbot cannot probe what the client needs. It may even cause more confusion and frustration. Human customer support is required to probe further, assess the situation, and provide the accurate information or solution needed. 
  3. Empathy. When clients experience inconvenience because of the product or service you offer, having customer service personnel is essential to acknowledge such shortcomings and offer help. Automated customer service cannot establish an emotional connection with the client.  
  4. Retention. In connection with empathy, human customer support’s ability to identify how a client feels can offer services that may help alleviate the frustration or inconvenience they think about the product or service. In cases of angry customers, an actual person may still be able to keep the clients from rejecting the product or service your business offers. 

These are only some fundamental reasons why human customer support should not be totally replaced by automation. On the other hand, we should not also totally discount the use of automated customer support. Customer Service will be much better when you utilize both to run your business more smoothly. 

Do you agree that customer support should not be totally automated?



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How Kind Words Saved Me From Myself

When I was younger, I used to be unkind to myself. I tended to think less of myself because of the weaknesses I acknowledged that I have. I usually only saw the downside of every situation and expected the worst outcome more often than not. I was not aware then that I was sabotaging myself and destroying my being inside. 

However, all those self-deprecations halted when one man told me that I could be good and that I only needed to believe in myself. More than the lesson of learning how to believe in oneself, I saw the value of kind and positive words, of how such words can revive a person who is dying inside.  

In the same way, no matter how trivial we may think it is, negative words can dim the light of a hopeful person or extinguish that of a dying one. 

When we feel hopeless, we should keep quiet rather than open our mouths and cause other people harm by speaking negatively. You don’t know what a person is going through, and you might just have made their day worse. Even if you may not be the main problem, you might become the added weight that finally causes that person to break. Be kind. If you can’t find the right words to say, give your support by just being there silently.

I can recount many experiences firsthand and from other people, proving the detrimental effect of negative words on people. One experience that I consider very heartbreaking was that of one close friend of mine. He is a brilliant person, genius even. He had ideals and had such monumental dreams for himself when he was a child. He would happily relay all his visions of the future to his family, thinking that they would be supportive of him. Although his family is supportive, they were apprehensive about allowing themselves to dream bigger than what they could afford based on their status in life. His family told him that his dream might be “impossible,” and so it was. It became impossible not because he was not capable. He was not able to make it happen because he stopped trying. Instead of ways, he could only think of the obstacles. 

When given the opportunity, say a kind word to people whom you think need it. Offer them a smile or a helping hand. We might not be able to do much for everyone in the world, but by choosing our words, we are helping people to be stronger in facing life and its challenges. Agreeing to their negative self-talk to show understanding is not helping the person, and it does not solve anything. Don’t you think affirming their value as a person or suggesting solutions to their problems are better ways of making them feel good? 



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Keep These Things in Mind to Manage Disappointment

Is disappointment an unhealthy feeling? This question is valid since disappointment is a negative emotion after all. However, I believe we are permitted to feel such emotion because it is a part of human nature. Like any other negative emotion, we are entitled to feel it, and, as I mentioned in a previous blog post, we should not guilt ourselves when we do.

We may wish not to experience being disappointed because it is an unpleasant feeling. Still, we cannot prevent things, situations, or people from disappointing us since these are elements out of our control. To avoid a downward spiral when disappointment happens, we have to learn how to manage it.

  1. Practice acceptance and manage expectations. I believe that the main reason for people’s disappointment, especially with other people, is the high expectation. Even though we should learn to trust other people, it doesn’t mean that we should expect them to meet the standard we set for them. In the beginning, we should condition our minds that although we can trust people to be or do things a certain way, there is always a possibility that they could not live to those expectations because of certain limitations that we cannot control. If such a shortcoming happens, we might still feel down, but the feeling will not linger longer.
  2. Allow yourself to feel it to let it out. Just like any other emotion, when disappointment is not expressed or allowed to come out, even just internally, it will only worsen. Like water in a dam, this emotion needs to be released so that you will not suddenly break.
  3. Check your contribution to the negative outcome. When we are disappointed with specific results, for example, the factors that lead to such are not always other people or things. Sometimes, if not most, we contribute or even solely are the reason for the disappointing result. If this is the case, we should fix it by correcting our part of the mistake. Doing something to correct the error will make you feel better.
  4. Look at the bigger picture. When things do not work the way you want them to, there may be something better. When you don’t figure out how to work things out with a particular person, it may be because you’re supposed to work it out with another person. When specific opportunities do not fit you, it may be because better ones suit you. Regardless, all those disappointing experiences with other people, things, and events are opportunities for you to learn.
  5. Remind yourself of your past wins. When your disappointment is a failure to achieve goals, it is imperative to remind yourself that you are not always in that state. Remembering that you are also capable of winning, as evidenced by your past achievements, your disappointment with yourself will less likely turn to a more depressing state and give you hope that you can still achieve what you want.

Do you cope with disappointment the same way? Or do you have other means that you find more compelling? Feel free to share your insights below.




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