of the week!!
I had two choices after a tough, brutal day at work today … go and blow off some steam by watching the latest Hobbit movie on IMAX … or write to my friends on TRHS.
Damn you guys … I’m sitting here and typing this.
I choose TRHS over IMAX.
Another four-letter word comes to mind, now that I think about it.
Choices. Thats all we do as entrepreneurs. Choose.
Your choice can be right or can be wrong. Either way, that only leads to the next choice. Choices.
How the customer service I got from my client was better than what I gave to them?
I broke my own most important professional rule today. I got angry at a client on the phone.
Backstory #1 … so I have a customer who ordered something small. I mean, the total bill was Rs. 129 including shipping. It’s so tiny that it didn’t even reach my desk. It was handled by the logistics guy and accounts team like a dozen other packages each day.
Ebay shows us the clients mobile number + address and my team put the same on the package.
Turns out that the number was the customer’s old number back when he opened his ebay account. He had entered his new number in the order details but somehow (a bug in ebay?) ebay didn’t show us the new number.
So after a lot of back & forth, the package was being returned by the courier guys.
Backstory #2 … I’ve had a series of calls with a customer today who is overdue on payments. One of them had committed this monday (15th Dec) and now his senior/manager says “oh, we meant next monday 22nd”. I know they were lying, but couldn’t do anything about it other than slap my hand on my table in frustration. Many times. Damn, my palms hurt now.
This got me extremely angry and frustrated. Believe me, I was a nasty person to be around today.
Backstory #1 and #2 together
So with this mindset of “delayed payments” and “customer lied to me” … I get on a call with the client from backstory #1 above.
Now, this poor chap is trying to explain to me that his ebay screen shows his new number. My company ebay screen shows his old number. Tu Tu. Main Main. Goes on for a while.
And somewhere, in all this, my brain F’s up and mixes the frustration of the “lying, not paying on time customer” with this guy who genuinely thinks he has put in the correct details. And he paid ebay in advance.
Irrespective of whose fault it was, he paid in advance. As far as both he and I are concerned, he was being a good customer.
Let me repeat that: Paid in ADVANCE
You are a dumb-ass marwari (or any entrepreneur) if you cannot value a customer who pays in advance.
And I got angry with him on the phone with the final words being to the effect of “fine, email me a screenshot of your computer and then we’ll see”. Basically I said he was lying unless he proves otherwise.
I’m being very mild here in this article because I know it will be publicly read. But you get the idea?!
I’ve spent a lifetime training myself and others on my team on this single most important rule “don’t get angry in front of the customer, irrespective of whose fault it is”. Deal with it later after you’ve cooled down. But don’t get angry IN FRONT OF THE CUSTOMER.
Now, this guy could have ripped into me, shouted back and used bad language .
Instead I get this email from him:
“One thing i suggest you plz be cool you were very frustrated. things happens like this even i am not that much worried about my order”
And with those words … he’s shown what it means to have a “customer service mindset”. He’s shown who was the better man today.
And I cannot thank him enough.
It’s affected me enough to get me thinking straight and write this article.
Maybe I’m not the cool-daddy of great customer service I always saw myself as.
I was the loser.
I was the ass.
I messed up.
My client did not.
All I can do from this is learn and hope I don’t do this again in the future.
As a small token of my thanks, I’m making sure he gets 3x the stuff he ordered + some Dairy Milks and a handwritten apology note from me.
It isn’t enough. But it’s a start.