Foolproof Customer Service Strategies (That Only A Fool Would Try!)

Ever notice how customer service varies from store to store? You walk into some stores, and before you can say "Buzz off!" a salesperson asks "May I help you?"

"No thanks."

"May I help you?" asks another.

"No thanks."

"May I help you?" asks a third.

When the store runs out of salespeople, you get to see the merchandise. This is called "in your face customer service"

Other stores take the opposite approach. When you can't find the right size adapter for your new portable electronic zapper gizmo thingy, you look for help in aisle three. Nobody there. Aisle four? Still nobody. Aisle five? Nope. Aisle six? Seven? Fifty-six?

This is called "run for cover customer service".

Then there is the equipment shop that welcomes you with open arms when your lawn tractor starts sounding like dentures in a blender.

"It just needs a routine cleaning. We charge $150 for that," the friendly salesman says. Then he lowers his voice. "But you could probably do it yourself."

You commend him on his helpfulness. He beams with pride. "Yup. I thought it up by myself. Whenever a customer tries to fix something at home, we make a whole lot more money the next day. Think my boss will give me a raise for this?"

I call this "do-it-yourself-extortion".

And what about the three companies that came to quote on some ductwork? Each looks around, takes some notes and promises to get back to us with a quote.

We wait. And wait. And wait.

We call back the first company, which promises to get back to us with its quote. It makes the same promise consistently each time we call. I just love a reliable company.

This is called "consistent filibuster customer service".

We call the second company. We call them in the day. We call them in the night. We call them in the dark. We call them in the light. We call them in the morn. Well call them at high noon. We call them at dinner, and by the light of the moon.

Even bad poetry doesn't help. I just love a company that doesn't pester me by answering the phone.

I call this "Invisible Man customer service".

In the end, we choose a third company. To what does it owe the winning bid? Excellent quality? No. Great price? No. Strong guarantee? No? Answering their phone? Yes.

We hire the best paperwork fillers to renovate our ductwork ? and we cross our fingers that we never have to choose a heart surgeon that way.

I call this "present-at-attendance customer service".

Our pest control company showed us a different approach.

"Honey, the flies are getting in the house. Time to call Pest Control Guy."

"OK, I'll do it right after I answer the phone. Hello?

"Hello, this is Pest Control Guy. When would you like your annual pest controlling?"

"How did you know? Well, as soon as possible. Hold on, that's the door bell."

"Hello, this is Pest Control Guy."

"But, you were just on the phone."

"You said ASAP, so here I am."

I call this "customer service on steroids".

If you own a business, run a family or do anything that brings you into contact with other human beings, please take note. One of these customer service styles is actually good.

"Hello, this is Pest Control Guy."

OK, that's enough. We don't have pests in this column.

"Hello, this is Pest Control Guy."

By the way, if you want to provide feedback to this column, I'll be holding my hands over my ears and singing the Klingon national anthem. I call that "satirical customer service."

"Hello, this is..." SWAT!

(Please email me at Info@TheHappyGuy.com if you have any customer service stories you would like to see in a future column.)

About The Author

The author is David Leonhardt. To receive his satirical happiness column weekly, sign up at http://TheHappyGuy.com/positive-thinking-free-ezine.html or read more columns at http://TheHappyGuy.com/self-actualization-articles.html. This article first appeared at http://TheHappyGuy.com/customer-service.html.

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