Your Customer Service Training - Is it Too Rigid?

Category: Customer Service
Posted: 09-04-2011 10:02 PM
Views: 1107
Synopsis:

Recently, I went shopping for dog food and went to a local pet store in my neighborhood.  This particular store obviously does a large amount of customer service training.  They always welcome me into the store and always ask if they can help me find something.  There seems to be a well-trained system of working with customers in the store.  Sounds great, doesn't it?  A well-oiled customer service machine dedicated to providing optimal service to the customer.  However, there is a problem mixed into this brand of service - not every customer is the same and not every customer appreciates the same type of customer service.

Recently, I went shopping for dog food and went to a local pet store in my neighborhood.  This particular store obviously does a large amount of customer service training.  They always welcome me into the store and always ask if they can help me find something.  There seems to be a well-trained system of working with customers in the store.  Sounds great, doesn't it?  A well-oiled customer service machine dedicated to providing optimal service to the customer.  However, there is a problem mixed into this brand of service - not every customer is the same and not every customer appreciates the same type of customer service.

On this trip, I picked up a 50lb bag, slung it over my shoulder and brought it to the counter.  The clerk was extremely friendly and checked me out with a smile.  However, at the end of the transaction something happened which soured my whole trip to the store.  The clerk was a small older woman and no matter how I protested she insisted on carrying my 50lb bag of dog food to my car for me.  I'm a relatively young, fit, 6'2" man.  A 50lb bag of dog food causes me no discomfort or inconvenience, however having an older woman carry this large bag across the parking lot for me causes me a great deal of discomfort...in the form of embarrassment. 

When the pet store put the policy in place that clerks were required to carry dog food bags to customer's cars they did so in a rigid manner.  They trained their clerks to carry the bag in every instance with no exceptions.   The problem is every man who shops in the store will certainly be embarrassed to have a woman carry the bag for them and probably embarrassed to have a man carry the bag for them as well.    I avoid the store now because I don't want to be forced into the same situation again.  They have completely lost my business.  The policy intended to provide great service has caused a negative, unintended result.

When organizations make customer service policies there has to be flexibility.  The intent of customer service should be to provide the best possible service experience for the customer - so they will come back and spend more money!  Review your policies and make sure that they aren't having unintended results, then adjust your customer service training.  Every customer is different and this needs to be taken into account.

Charlie Bentson King is a writer and producer of customer service training videos for TrainingABC.  TrainingABC is the world's most comprehensive source of corporate training videos and DVDs.

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