The Compostual Existentialist

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British Customer Service – A training course

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Hello! Thank you for coming to Stegzy‘s Customer Service School. Today I am going to show you the key skills required to succeed in this line of work*

1. Always give your friends first class service – If your friends are happy they will tell their friends about the good service they have had. Word of mouth is more powerful than advertising. Advertising costs lots. More money means wealthier bosses – wealthier bosses mean better working environment – better working environment means longer toilet breaks for you – you go home happy. So if your friend comes in treat them right. Chat to them for as long as you like. It doesn’t matter about anybody else just make sure you look after your mates. If anyone complains then that’s because they have no mates and they have no mates because they complain all the time.

2. Never Smile – Smiling means you are being friendly. Remember the customer is the enemy and should not be befriended. Befriending a customer means everyone gets first class service. This costs money and time especially if you talk to every customer you come into contact with. Time = money also remember Under no circumstances engage the customer in conversation – Even the slightest hint of chumminess means one of the saddos will start calling in regularly. Regular contact develops into friendship and before long the saddo will be inviting you along to chess or bingo evenings and Star Trek Conventions and then every Colin, Barry and Douglas will be lining up expecting excellent service.

3. Never make Eye contact – Customers are naturally stupid. Remember you are in charge not them. The only people allowed to make eye contact are highly skilled sales people. They have special one way contact lenses and eye contact is an excellent tool for breaking down defences. Making eye contact can reassure a customer that the piece of shit they are buying is a quality bargain but it can also show weakness to the unskilled CSRep. REMEMBER :- Eye contact should only be made by highly skilled sales people except in confrontational situations in which case a mighty glare can make anyone have weak knees. For more on eye contact see Appendix R. Tibetan Eye Combat Skills

4. They need you more than you need them – The only reason you are in contact with a customer is because they think they want something you have. In reality they have something you want – MONEY and lots of it. No matter how many times someone protests or complains in reality they want to give you their money. Short of a good kicking most customers will happily part with their hard earned loot without second thought to the true cost therefore remember the following:-

  1. Gauge your customers wealth status – The more money they appear to have the less they are likely to want to spend unless they appear to be competitive or “Keeping up with the Jones'” types. They will more than likely want the middle of the range product so show them that one and then try and push them up the range. They probably wont buy the better product but they will leave thinking “I should have got that more expensive product” and probably come back.
  2. Less well off customers are more likely to pay double – They want the better products so that they look swish when their pals come round. Push the product that they can’t afford and mention credit services. Remember the words “Interest” and “APR” mean little to most people under 40
  3. If someone wants to complain give them to the customer complaints department – These people are highly skilled individuals and can convince customers they are getting something for nothing when in reality they aren’t. Do not attempt to placate a pissed off customer with offers of goodies unless you are trained in the dark arts.

5. The Customer is always wrong – No matter how right they think they are. Remember you are more knowledgeable of the products and services you can provide to them even if you actually know nothing about them at all. They may think they know the subtle nuances but they don’t, unless of course they are an ex-member of staff in which case they should be referred to a manager who will dispose of them in a recognised place of refuse. The only exceptions to these rules are people who work in motor factor/ accessories shops (e.g. Halfords) and in High Street computer retailers (e.g. PC World, Time, Tiny etc) – If the customer had any knowledge of the subtle nuances of the product in the first place they would have gone to a specialist and bought the right thing in the first place.

6. Your time is more valuable than theirs – Customers have bags of time as well as cash otherwise they wouldn’t be bothering you with insignificant requests. Show your disdain for their wasting your time by tutting and sighing when they can’t make up their mind. This will embarrass them into hurrying up and, although they will probably moan to their friends about how rude you were, they will probably buy the wrong thing and end up having to return. Besides you are unlikely to ever see them again anyway so what should you care?

7. The longer you postpone a problem the quicker it goes away – This is especially true in CS in IT. The IT Monkey rule of “Ignore a problem long enough it will fix itself” is universal through out all areas of CS. So, if you are presented with a problem you don’t think you can solve yourself or you think may reveal more shoddiness on behalf of your co-workers, ignore it; it will go away. If paper work is involved, shove it in the bin inside something such as an envelope of a chip wrapper; If there is an electronic record of the transaction or contact make sure you hide it well. Electronic resources are easily traced so check within your department for the approved method of evidence disposal.

8. Only be pleasant when funds are changing hands – Remember, the customer pays your wages, if you are unpleasant at the critical time the may go elsewhere with their funds. This is true right up until the end of their period of statutory rights after which they are not your problem. Remember you are welcome to postpone dealing with anything other than transfer of funds as long as it doesn’t point back at you.

9. Every customer is stupid unless they speak to you in a civil tone Phrases like “I don’t know anything about xxxx”, “You! Help me out with this” or “I’m too busy to be coming in”, name dropping and airs of superiority by customers should be dealt with utter contempt. Only stupid customers would dare use such tactics. Remember the customer doesn’t know why they want something, it is up to you to tell them. It often helps if you explain in simple language or by pointing to diagrams. Remember also that 80% of what you say to a customer will be forgotten an hour after the contact therefore when explaining important contractual obligations or financial things speed up your speech or bury the terms and conditions on the back of a piece of paper which they will never read until it is too late. Rude customers are out to make money from your company or better their own means to an end. So if contact is in any shape or form uncivil you are well within your right to drag out any processes and make things three times as difficult for the customer than if they were pleasant to begin with. Eventually they will learn of their error and eventually, at some future point, calm down on advice of their doctor or start attending anger management sessions.

Finally, 10. Be smart with your rudeness – A skilled CSRep can always insult a customer without them even knowing. This could be by indirect reference or by subtle ways i.e. misspelling of their name. In this day and age everyone gets offended easily so there are numerous methods of insult on the market. However, if your insult is too direct or obvious you may be faced with difficulty and possibly reprimand so it is important that the insult is untraceable and can be easily reinterpreted by a third or independent party.

We would like to remind candidates that these rules are widely known amongst CS centre Workers and any discussion of these secrets is considered taboo though some will discuss their own methods and rules of successful CS after their period of employment has ended or if they work for a different contact/call centre than you. So follow these guidelines and you will keep both the customer and your employers happy.

Oh yes….indeedy 😉

Thank you for reading.


* – Disclaimer – This is entirely for fun and not indicative of all customer service in the UK. No offence, implication or accusation should be taken with anything described.

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Author: stegzy

Once, long ago, I wrote frequently on Livejournal. I then moved to Blogspot, where I discovered that blogging requires an audience. So I moved back to LJ. Then over to Dreamwidth, back to LJ, up the road of self hosting with Muckybadger before giving up entirely and moving over to Wordpress. It was at that moment I decided I would spread my compostual nonsense simultaneously across the blogosphere like some rancid margarine. And so here I am. I am a badger. But then I'm not really a badger. I am a human. With badger like tendencies. I am a writer, a film producer and a social commentator. I am available for Breakfast TV shows, documentaries and chats in the pub with journalists.

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