Do like an English butler

Doesn’t want to be disturbed by someone thanking him for using that coat

In customer service, be a Jeeves, not a Bertie.

I don’t want to know how your business/livelihood lives and dies based on you making your customers happy. Viral marketing, social reviews, circles of influence, “engagement,” all those things have changed the tenor of business. A lot of “shoulds” are flying around.  Not taking care of customers will become known. But good customer service is NOT reminding them of how grateful you are that you’re patronising the business.

Got my nails done. This dude was running the place with his wife. He had a lot of weird nervous energy, and that made me uncomfortable. He would ask if I wanted water, then forget, and ask me again, and try to get me to like him by complimenting me on color selection, engaging me in conversation about what I’d done that day, the weather, and other stupid crap. He was getting in the way of me relaxing. I understand that he’s trying to “provide good customer service” but it was actually all about him, requiring me, his customer, to placate his anxiety about whether I was happy there or not. It reminded me about the behavior of apes, where dominant ones get woken up from a nap to hump submissives to assure the submissives that they’re not mad at them. So annoying.

I was on a plane, and the capitan came on every few hours or so to tell us something inconsequential and thank us for flying with them. I was using the in flight entertainment, and every time the capitan came on, the entertainment would cut out and the screen would inform me that an announcement was taking place. Thanks a lot.  I don’t need someone to take a minute to thank me for flying with them every few hours. I’m trapped on this plane because it was among the cheaper options. And also, I don’t want to be reminded that this company lives and dies by making its customers happy. That is not my problem. Let’s just not talk about it, shall we?

Amtrack also makes announcements every few stops or so about how happy the announcer and all the crew are that we’ve chosen Amtrack. Okay, new people are getting on and off, fine. If you must thank me, make it concise, short, and easily ignored.

The best customer service is unobtrusive, doesn’t require engagement by the customers being served, and is brief. As a customer service agent, it doesn’t matter what your needs are or what policies/procedures the company has. What matters is taking care of a customer’s problem, and if they don’t have a problem, don’t have someone get in their face repeatedly about how happy and thankful you are that they use your service. Thanking customers overmuch is just one more corporate mandate to their employees. Customers don’t want to hump you. They want to take a nap.



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