Help Even When You Can’t Help: A Customer Service And Job Satisfaction Principle

Call Center in Mexico Customer service can be frustrating work, because of the limiting parameters. You’re interacting with customers briefly and in a closely-defined role, where there’s a ceiling on how much you can do for them. You’re handling a product return, but the problems in the customer’s life (you can just tell from their deep sighs between sentences on the phone) go so much deeper than this transaction. You’re helping someone’s kids navigate a restaurant menu, but the family dynamics are in need of an overhaul that’s much more profound than the choice between tater tots and shoestring fries. You’re helping someone get their credit payments back on schedule, but everything you know about their credit history makes it clear to you that this will be an ongoing struggle, and that your one-shot intervention does little but scratch the surface.

The reality is that you aren’t going to be able to do anything life-changing for a customer, by and large. If you work in credit services, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to transform a customer’s finances and get them out of debt, once and for all. If you wait tables, no amount of attentive service is going to make a couple more compatible or reform their kids’ behavior so they’re more couth at the dinner table moving forward. If you work in homecare or assisted living, odds are small that you’ll be able to meaningfully extend your patient’s lifespan.

But, you do have these few moments with each customer, and in these moments, you still can help.  Maybe only in a small way, but it’s not something whose value you should discount.

The secret here, I think, is to take the attitude of “helping even when you can’t help.”  Be the homecare worker who provides comfort; even if it’s just the comfort of commiseration, it’s perhaps the one bright light in an otherwise untenable situation. Or be the hotel employee who brought me an over-the-counter remedy when she heard I had a cold. It didn’t cure me, and the medicine, I’m pretty sure, couldn’t have been more bogus if it had said “Placebo” on the packaging, but I sure felt better knowing that she’d tried.

Micah Solomon is an author, consultant, keynote speaker, trainer. Customer service, customer experience, customer service culture, hospitality, leadership, innovation (emailweb).

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Call Center in Mexico