So, I’m standing in the queue waiting to pick up a package for my son’s birthday that has been lost by the delivery company for 7 days. Its 4 days before Christmas and his birthday is tomorrow. The guy at the head of the queue is absolutely freaking out.
He’s got it all going on; raised voice, popping eyes, red face, puffed out chest, pointing finger and loads of insults about the delivery company, all of their employees, their close relations and probably family pets. The one thing he didn’t have going on was any sort of listening.
Fair play to the clerk behind the counter he explained the difficulties which involved finding a single anonymous package amongst the 15,000 in the warehouse behind the desk. A bit of an Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse scene situation if you ask me. What Mr Freakout really missed was the offer from the clerk to find the package by 2pm that afternoon and personally deliver it to his home. It was too late by this stage; he was completely deaf to any solutions and stormed out almost taking the doors off their hinges. End result for him, a complete failure; no package, no prospect of the package in the near future and blood pressure at the point of exploding.
Next up was a very calm lady clutching an iPad and a few bits of paper. “This is my parcel tracking number (handed over the slip of paper), and your online tracking facility tells me (iPad screen shot presented) that the package has been returned to this depot as your driver was intimidated by my dog, a Chihuahua”. The clerk types in the number to a computer, leaves the desk and returns 30 seconds later with the package. The lady signs for the package and rapidly leaves with a smile.
At this point the queue goes absolutely wild. People were on smart phones trying to call up the delivery company website or speaking to anyone who had access to a computer. Everyone wanted their parcel tracking number and a screen shot of the online tracking facility. The result was that the queue started to move rapidly. The tension went out of the room and people started to smile, even the overworked desk clerk. By the time it was my turn I had my tacking number written on a scrap of paper and the screen shot ready (my dog also prevented a driver delivering for 7 days – but that’s another story). The end result, I get my package, no fuss, no raised voices, everyone happy.
So what’s the PONT?
- Aggression and threats get you nowhere, particularly if you stop listening.
- Knowledge is power.
- The customer really does know best, especially when it’s a backed up with a bit of mobile web.
There is a sub plot to all this. Two days before I visited the parcel depot I left some terrible feedback on the customer comments section of their website (I’m ashamed to say I was ranting). This generated an auto response in ‘blah blah’ style promising to respond fully within 10 days. They did respond, it was equally ‘blah blah’ and meaningless. A few days after collecting my parcel I contacted them again, this time in a far more positive mood, suggesting how they might improve the collection service at the depot by providing instruction notices and possibly even a computer terminal for people to locate their parcel tracking numbers. Literally within an hour I had a response thanking me for my helpful suggestions which would be considered as part of their review of the process in the New Year. Funny that.
Brilliant advice, I shall have to try to remember that!
I imagine the same advice also holds true when ringing call centres, but by the time you get through to speak to an actual real live human the chances are you’ve lost all powers of reason and are half way to a nervous breakdown! (or is that just me?)
Thanks Esther, I must admit I was all ready for a bit of freaking out myself until I saw the more effective approach. I also reckon that staff have had so much customer training nowadays they actually know how to deal with the freak out. Saw the same sort of thing in a phone shop twice recently. Nasty customer (both blokes) went away with tail between their legs after getting nowhere shouting. Their partners stayed behind and politely sorted things out.
Btw, my chickens all came home ok thanks. Have invested in plenty of chicken wire, again.