Bad Customer Service – Placing the ball in your court

Some would agree they experience bad customer service very often. Whether it is the local supermarket staff ignoring an urgent question about a product or a bank staff having a bad attitude, we have all had our fair shares of poor services.

A lot of the time our first reaction would be to respond rudely which would seem fair enough because “they deserve it”. However, I think there are other ways to handle it:

A confident personality is the one to use in such situations. Let the staff know you are aware of your rights as a customer. Someone who appears timid may not get good results. When you are faced with a dilemma with a staff, do not back down but communicate your opinion and complains in a firm manner.

An example: Mrs Fikayo is at a retail shop to pick up a bottle of Mouth Wash. She gets to the shelf and there are none left. She approaches a staff member to find out whether there are any more bottles in stock. The shop assistant goes on to raise his voice at Mrs Fikayo and saying that she should not bother him with questions about products that are clearly not on the shelves.
Mrs Fikayo can deal with this situation by first asking the staff member, in a confident and polite manner, to not raise his voice at her. This would create a form of respect towards Mrs Fikayo and may stop him from doing such a second time. She should try to make eye contact, be audible and calm, control the conversation, and no stuttering.

Bad customer service would usually cause a display of emotions and so it is important to be intelligent with how you respond. There are two steps to do this:

The first step is to be aware of your emotions. This means understanding who you are as a person and what makes you display either positive or negative emotions. This develops your inter-personal skills and would help you to relate better with the other person. Once you understand your personality type, it would be easy to know whether to continue an argument or to simply walk away.

The second step is to manage the emotions. When you attempt to hit someone in the throat as a result of bad service, you have lost control of your emotions.

An example: Theodora ordered a round table from an online furniture store to pick up at her local shop. She is not available to pick it up herself and so she asks her friend, Stella to collect it. At the shop, Stella is asked to show some form of identification. As Stella is not the one who ordered of the table, she proceeds to explain that she is only picking it up for her friend but the sales assistant, thinking that she is attempting to steal the item, stops attending to her.

In this situation, Stella can switch on her emotional intelligence by asking to speak with someone else, preferably the manager to explain the situation.
A key thing here is her ability to understand that the sales assistant was not aware of the situation and was quick to draw a conclusion based on his assumptions. Understanding this will affect the way Stella responds to the situation.

Patience is not likely to come naturally in such a situation, but it is one thing to master or at least to force yourself to do because you need it in almost all situations of bad service. I do think it depends on the situation because you should not be out there looking like a mug in extremely bad situations. Also, from experience being the patient dog when it is not wise to be will have you eating the thinnest bone ever. It is all in your ability to know when to use this.

An example – John is at the airport to catch a flight. He is the third person on the queue but notices that he has been on the same spot for a while because other people that are not on the queue are being attended to.
It would not be wise for John to stand there patiently while others take his place on the queue. He should approach a staff member or any one at the counter to explain what is going on. It would be wise of him to be patient if he is being attended to at the counter and the airport staff is being slow or has a bad attitude, and he should address it in a polite manner.

This is quite a lot to read but I hope it helps someone!