Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cuteness personified!

The sweetest note from a toddler, that made my day....
This makes up for dealing with all the cranky customers and the stressful work

Thanks to the little kid and her mother for gifting us some smiles :)
Thanks to all the little kids who send in candies and chocolates with their books through the AMH...
They really make a difference.... just hope more parents can teach their children to take responsibility for their actions, while acknowledging and appreciating others !

Monday, August 29, 2011

Are you the customer, deserving service?

A year, being associated with the customer service industry and I am already such a better person, or so I think! But, I really have learnt a lot about being the ideal customer who deserves the excellent service at so many places. One of these evenings, I was attending to patrons (some of them like to be called that), when I realized that there was a category of customers I looked forward to, and there were some, just the thought of whom gave me goosebumps. That is when I started pondering as to what characteristics would an ideal customer possess? If everybody took this questionnaire, the customer service world would be so much better for everyone involved. Check how many of the below do you follow:

1. Are you conscientious enough to acknowledge the fact that the customer service agent can't wait all day to help you, while you are chit-chatting on the phone?
It is so annoying when you are helping people check out books, pay fines, and basically make it a better experience for them, while they take that call and have a long chat. And you just wait there, for them to finish the call so that you can ask them for the essential information. Why can't people understand that, we have other work to do too? Customer service does not entail being a personal assistant to people who try to get their work done, by making gestures, while they are on the phone. If they are too busy to get off the phone, they are probably too caught up to be able to enjoy the service anyways!

2. Do you assume that you are the only person being helped?
It is amazing how many people just forget that there are others waiting in line to avail the same benefits as they are from the customer service agent. If they are not chit-chatting on the phone, they are chit-chatting with you, ignoring the fact that there is a beeline behind them. Or there are others, who have a hundred questions about their account, and most of them that can be taken care of by them too. Then there are those who want to get help just from you, even when the self-checkouts have been facilitated. Just the lack of consideration for the other people, who deserve equal attention as them, is surprising. And as the service provider, it feels unfair not to be able to help the others in line.

3. Do you assume that the representative is responsible for everything that is wrong at the organization?
If a book is labelled a certain way, it is not our fault. We do not make all the decisions and most of the times, we are not even part of it. So why the ho-hum over, how the library label is partially hiding the picture on the cover? If you would like to see the picture so bad, I am sure Barnes and Nobles would give you a better view with a good price too. It is like the face of the organization has to take flack for everything, and we are ready to, but sometimes even we don't have answers. For example, we do not know how a book would end up on your overdue and fine items, if you never checked it out. I mean, we do have wizardry books in the library, but to expect us to look into the crystal ball and check how it showed up in your account without you using your card, is asking for too much.

4. Do you behave as though you own the customer service agent just because you are subscribing to the services?
We get paid by our organization, not by you. So there is no reason to make use feel indebted towards you. People who say things like "If it wasn't for me, you wouldn't have this job", just enrage us so much. If it wasn't for you, there would still be 100 others who would want to subscribe for our services. There is no need to be rude. We are doing our job as best as we can, but if you have the patience of a 3-year old, it is really not our fault. And that does not give you the right to belittle us.

5. Are you appreciative of the service and help, provided?
A little thank-you note, a small word of appreciation goes a long way. If the customers are satisfied, so are we, and if they just mention how happy they are, it makes us feel that all the effort is worthwhile. People mentioning how the library services helped them find a job, how our speed of getting the request filled, helped them prepare for their exams are statements that have the potential to make our day and motivate us on days when we are bogged down by the extra stress.

6. Do you judge the person helping you based on his/her profession?
Just because someone has a certain job, they cannot be judged as person based on that. Jobs are a funny extension of a person. They can be exactly what suits them, or they can be just something they to do. Irrespective, it just defines what they do, not who they are. A job cannot determine if a person is dumb or intelligent. Remarks like "There is a reason you work here" just berate the person and make them want to do worse at their job. And you know, it is not like fairies run the world and get everything done. There are real people doing all the jobs around, the ones you don't want to.

7. Do you teach your kids to be respectful of the services provided?
When I see kids misbehaving and disrespecting books, and in general exploiting the services, I can only think of how inconsiderate they would be when they grow up. They could turn out to be the customer service monsters nobody wants to attend to. It is so nice to see some parents inculcating courtesy in children. Where there is value, there is appreciation and consideration. When we see parents insisting kids to thank us for helping them, when parents point out to children not to make a mess where we just cleaned up, it is uplifting to know that the kids are being taught important lessons in respect. And if customers are the right example to their kids, they are grooming a better batch of customers for tomorrow. Ah, what a day to look forward to!

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