Customer Service: The way I see it

I work for an institution that offers service. I particularly work for a school that provides education from Pre-school to Graduate studies. I used to report for the Research team and part of our task then was to conduct customer satisfaction survey from both our students and parents. I administer the survey, encode responses and prepare a comprehensive report that will be submitted to the management and the concerned department heads.

I admit that I had a love and hate relationship in dealing with customer satisfaction surveys. It was tedious to distribute the forms, retrieve and encode each piece of rating and comment in the questionnaire. I haven’t even mentioned the deadlines to beat. However, this job has its own share of excitement and points of interest as well. In one way or another, I guess I’m able to discover some dark secrets of other departments and colleagues. In fairness to my colleagues, most of them have treated me well. It’s just that apart from me and my other colleagues, I feel that it’s our customers (students and parents) that deserves to be treated best.

There were instances when I read harsh comments and complaints addressed to some departments and even to specific colleagues. As to the truthfulness of the complaints, it’s only the clients and my subjected colleagues who can attest. However, whenever repeated complaints are pointed to a specific department or colleague, I can’t help but feel convinced that such complaint is true.

Most of the complaints I encountered in survey forms are pointed to my colleagues who are front liners. They are the employees who have direct and first hand interaction with the students and parents.  To be honest, I have personally witnessed how some colleagues render a not-so-good attitude with our clients. But then, who am I to call their attention? There was one incident when a parent forgot to undergo a certain step before attempting another transaction. I felt bad for the parent because her unintentional mistake will again entail falling in line and waiting for another hour. Somehow, I felt frustrated for the parent because I know my colleague could make a way to relieve the agony of the parent.

I also witnessed a student whose presence seemed to be ignored by a colleague. After standing for quite some time, the student knocked on the glass window and to her and my surprise, she received tongue lashing words. If only I can speak in behalf of the student, I wanted to tell my colleague that the student would not render such irritating knock-on-the-glass-window gesture  if her concern was immediately handled.

I’m not totally blaming my colleague and departments who may have committed mortal sins under the unwritten rules of Customer Service. I know they are human beings too. They feel tired and weary after handling like a hundred of customers for a day. I can understand the fact that they are stressed out and overworked.

Recently however, I encountered some words and thoughts about Customer Service. In a brief seminar that I attended, the speaker emphasized to us the importance of properly treating our customers. She particularly reminded us that we need to remember that more than being the lifeblood of our institution, our customers can be a mother, father, a child or someone precious to other people. Given that situation, no one would definitely wanted their mother, father, child or loved one to be disrespected, shouted back and receive harsh words as a result of an unintentional mistake. How would you feel if your mother, who almost gave up her own life for your existence, is being bawled out for some unintentional mistake?

In another lecture on customer service I have attended, the Christian speaker also shared to us this quote, be kind, for everyone you meet is facing a battle. The customer who patiently waited for his/her turn maybe a parent, sibling or anyone who exhausted all means to support the studies of their children. In a shopping mall perhaps, the client whom the sales clerk have discriminated and ignored merely because of his/her old clothes, maybe a parent who wanted to reward her only child for doing well in school.

I admit that I’ve never been totally in the shoes of a front liner. However, people can’t discount the fact that I’m a part time educator. Whenever I face a problem college kid, I really avoid reprimanding them in front of his/her classmates. I try my best to be the most diplomatic and approachable educator. I don’t really see my students as people who provide me income so I should treat them well. I see these kids as children of hardworking parents. Hence, they deserve to be treated best.

I don’t totally believe in the saying that the customer is always right. We all know that. 🙂 However,  whether an incident was intentionally and unintenionally triggered by the customer, I always believe that all customers have the right to be treated right. The customer may not always be right, but they have the right to be treated right.

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