What is it about customer service? Ken Blanchard talks about raving customers ie people so happy about the service they have received, they can’t stop talking about it. There is another kind of raving customer too: the one that is raving mad about the quality of service he or she has received.
Take two examples.
I have to have a blood test. I went yesterday to my nearest Collection Centre and after waiting, the pathologist there told me, very abruptly, that I was too late: the procedure took two hours and I had to come back before 10 the following day and handed me back my form and continued with her work. End of conversation.
I duly turned up at 9.45 am and waited in the queue. At about 10.40 she called me in, took the form again as if she had no idea who I was, and told me she couldn’t do the test, it had to be started at 10. When I pointed out I had been sitting there since 09.45 she shrugged, and said, ‘come back tomorrow’. I confess to snatching the form from her and storming out, having pointed out that I had now wasted two hours waiting for this test over two days. She simply shrugged (which is what prompted the snatching exercise).
I turned up at another centre. There the women explained the procedure and why there was a starting deadline and what would happen. She took blood for another test and told me that if I got back the following morning she would make sure I was fast tracked and the waiting minimised. She apologised for making me come back and sympathised with the inconvenience and said what an annoying test it was. I thanked her, left meekly and said I would be back the following morning.
Both people were trying to tell me exactly the same information. One got an earful and the other a thank you.
It is mainly about empathy. One had it in spades, and one wouldn’t know if she tripped over it in the street.
The old emotional intelligence adage applies: effective management of any given situation requires far more EQ than IQ. And out of that the leadership competence of listening, asking questions and hearing the answers emerges. So simple, but critical to understanding any given situation.
I have been working with a group of students from the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and the session on Emotional Intelligence was very helpful to the whole group. In their chosen industry it will serve them in good stead. And today, for me, the theory became practice!