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Getting customer service right

While the rules are the rules, customers want to feel someone is listening who takes time to understand their situation

There are plenty of customers who are out to game companies. But that’s not what most customers want to do when contacting a business about a problem. A recent Discover card commercial opens with a defiant caller saying he refuses to pay

an annual fee and is nonplussed when the customer service rep tells him Discover doesn’t have annual fees. He was ready to do battle and was caught off guard.

Most customers can relate to that. To be taken seriously, they think they must be prepared to fight. An insurance company lawyer took his case to a newspaper, after trying to renew his real estate license online on the last day, only to find that the website was down. When calling to find out how he could avoid a late fee, he was told that’s the way it is.

Like most customers, he was looking for a little understanding. While the rules are the rules, customers want to feel someone is listening who takes time to understand their situation. It’s called empathy.

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