Saga of a Savvy Service Provider

[article]
Summary:

As a frequent flier, I've had that dreaded experience in which I go to Point A and my luggage goes to Point B. Once, my luggage went to a more exotic destination than I did.

On one trip, though, I wished that my suitcase had, indeed, gone to Point B. It emerged on the baggage carousel with a ripped zipper and the top bent back so as to reveal its contents. (We are warned to wear clean underwear in case of an accident. To that I add, pack clean underwear it case of nosy onlookers at the baggage carousel!)

As a frequent flier, I've had that dreaded experience in which I go to Point A and my luggage goes to Point B. Once, my luggage went to a more exotic destination than I did.

On one trip, though, I wished that my suitcase had, indeed, gone to Point B. It emerged on the baggage carousel with a ripped zipper and the top bent back so as to reveal its contents. (We are warned to wear clean underwear in case of an accident. To that I add, pack clean underwear it case of nosy onlookers at the baggage carousel!)

Normally, I see travel experiences as opportunities to collect stories for my presentations. Now, though, I was angry. Off I went to the Customer Service Office, dragging my shredded suitcase behind me.

If you deliver services to customers, this is where you should start paying attention.

The service rep on duty, Margie, said my suitcase must have gotten caught on the conveyor system. Before I could say a word, she said she'd check in back to see if anything had fallen out. When she returned, she said she hadn't found anything, but I'd better look in my suitcase and make sure nothing was missing.

To open it, I had to rip apart the rest of the zipper. Oh, how much happier I'd have been if my suitcase had simply gone to Point B.

Fortunately, nothing was missing. Unfortunately, my suitcase had just completed its last trip. Just as I was about to screech, "NowwhatdoIdo?" Margie said she'd get me another bag. It was flimsy, but for this brief trip, it would suffice. Just as I started to wonder how I'd return the bag, she explained that it was mine to keep.

But what about my poor mangled suitcase? Just as I was about to demand that it be fixed, Margie said she'd send it out to be repaired. And just as I was about to ask what if it couldn't be fixed, she said if they couldn't repair it, they'd replace it. And just as I was about to ask how I could check on the status of the repair, she gave me the phone number of the repair shop.

And just as I was about to ask how I could contact her if I had questions, she said, "Here is my contact information. Please get in touch if you have any questions."

This experience helped me appreciate that one of the signs of a savvy service provider is the ability to anticipate customer needs, particularly during times of stress.

And yes, bad as the experience was, I did get a story out of it. I hope that one day, I'll have the opportunity to tell it in an exotic location, and that both my suitcase and I will enjoy the trip.

About the author

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten

Naomi Karten is a highly experienced speaker and seminar leader who draws from her psychology and IT backgrounds to help organizations improve customer satisfaction, manage change, and strengthen teamwork. She has delivered seminars and keynotes to more than 100,000 people internationally. Naomi's newest books are Presentation Skills for Technical Professionals and Changing How You Manage and Communicate Change. Her other books and ebooks include Managing Expectations, Communication Gaps and How to Close Them, and How to Survive, Excel and Advance as an Introvert. Readers have described her newsletter, Perceptions & Realities, as lively, informative, and a breath of fresh air. She is a regular columnist for StickyMinds.com. When not working, Naomi's passion is skiing deep powder. Contact her at naomi@nkarten.com or via her Web site, www.nkarten.com.

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