I'm in sales of course and customer service is very important. I think I can speak for most people in sales that when you come across someone in a store that has poor customer service you are really taken back and think to yourself "Man! That would never fly at my work!" Maybe you went to the DMV or the mall or something...
When you are dealing with people it is my observation that you can't please everyone and some people just refused to be satisfied with whatever you do for them. I think for the most part 80% of the population are "normal" and enjoy being treating well and having their wants and needs taken care of. Sometimes people just flat out make mistakes though! A sign of excellent customer service is how the accident or mistake is handled.
A while back I worked at a hotel and talked to lots of guests there. One night, an older gentleman called me and told me his bed was broken and his elderly wife almost fell down on the floor trying to get it. I quickly ran upstairs and sure enough someone had collapsed the center of the bed. I apologized for the problem and quickly changed their room to something nicer. He asked "is that all you're going to do?" I told him I would discount the rate as well to save him some money for the inconvenience as well and he replied in a huff, "well if that's the way I'm going to be treated..."
On the other side of the spectrum, another time at the hotel there was a mix up and someone got booked into the same room as another guest. When they went to get into their room, they found another couple reading at the desk. YIKES! The man came down and said "there is someone in my room." I figured out as fast as I could what happened, apologized for the mix up and set him up with an upgraded room from what he reserved. He took the keys and turned and said "Man, this is great! All I wanted was an apology! Sometimes sorry goes a long way." Isn't that funny how people are so different?
I recently had a problem myself and needed some help. I went into KWAL paint on state street and 400 south to shop around for some paint. I talked to the sales guy and he told me all about the different paints, colors, quality, and prices. I got along with him well enough and the price that he quoted me was good but I wasn't at the stage of painting my house just yet so I told him I would send my wife back in when I was ready. I left feeling like KWAL was the best place to buy paint with the budget and quality we were looking for.
A week later I sent my wife and mother in to get the paint. I told her what kind of paint the sales guy told me to get and what price. When she got there the sales people weren't very cooperative. My wife called and told me what was happening and I got on the phone with the sales person. I told him all about my previous visit and to just help my wife out the same as that guy did. She came home with really horrible paint. We had already put two coats of primer on the wall and when we started to paint the first coat we could tell we were having problems. The paint was all watery and didn't cover well. We put two coats of white on an already two coated white wall and it still didn't cover! I was so mad!
A few weeks later I went back to talk to the people there. When I got there I was all prepared to go toe to toe with someone. I was greeted by a nice paint guy who listened as I explained the situation. He said he would get the manager. When the manager came out I was relieved that it was the guy I had talked to before! I explained what happened - he apologized and found me the paint we talked about and discounted it like crazy! I think he paid me basically to take 5 gallons of paint! I told him I would have been happy if they just helped me with the price we talked about or just
I left there thinking to myself how foolish I was for assuming they would give me a hard time. What an awesome dude to just apologize and fix the problem. I am planning on buying them some pizza or something just to say thanks for not being dirt bags about the problem!
So if you are in customer service...listen, apologize, and do your best to TAKE CARE OF THE CUSTOMER! It will go a long way! Thanks Chad at KWAL for reinforcing this idea!