It has always floored me how many people are ready to blame someone else when something goes wrong, deflect responsibility by making excuses and expect others to fix things for them – without being part of the solution. We are so quick to find fault, almost as if we are looking for flaws, and quick to complain. Data supports this. According to Convince and Convert, 92% of customers will call you out on poor customer service.* But how many of us actually make an effort to turn a negative situation around or better yet, praise someone when a job is well done?
In a day and age when most businesses send customer satisfaction surveys or ask for social reviews, it does seem that genuine customer service is, well, just plain lacking. We are lucky if the store clerk makes eye contact when we are at the check out or if we can even engage someone to help us when looking for something. When we dial customer service, it is a challenge to discuss a matter with the representative should it not be part of their scripted responses. And business aside, humans have seemed to turn against each other. We now live in a society where being rude is the norm – and we’re not phased by it.
I was thinking about this when making a doctor’s appointment for my mother, having left two messages and not getting a call back. The office had been responsive in the past and wonderful to communicate with. My mother and I were quick to judge and complain with each other however, didn’t throw a temper tantrum and simply called again. When I did finally get through, the receptionist was beyond apologetic when I mentioned having left some messages. Turns out the office is short staffed right now, working remote and at varying hours while juggling an onslaught of patient calls due to COVID opening delays. I could hear the frustration and upset in her voice as she explained, though I did not ask for an explanation. And knowing what medical practices, hospitals, businesses – knowing what everyone has been going through, I didn’t see a need to make this person feel worse. We’re not the only patients. We’re not any more special than anyone else and you know what, none of us can remember everything – even if we fall short in the customer service world. Making that appointment was important to us, so we continued to call until we reached the office and spoke with a live – and obviously stressed – person.
I’m not making excuses for slacking, but I am making the point that maybe if we all positively contribute to a situation – rather than react in an aggressive, hostile manner – we may be able to work together in making this world a better place one interaction at a time.