“How Can I Make You Smile Today?”

I’ll admit it bugs me when I’m on the phone with a customer service rep and get the feeling that he’s more focused on finishing up with me and moving on to the next call than on doing everything he can to help solve the issue.

Last week I was having trouble booking a flight online, so I called customer service.

After going through their customer filtering gauntlet –  “press x if you’re this, press y if you’re that…”  then waiting 15 minutes because they were experiencing “…higher than normal call volume…”, I finally had a chance to describe my dilemma to a harried sounding rep.

She suggested I start the whole process over from the beginning, and was ready to hang up, but I said, “Okay, could you hang for a second while I try that?”

She agreed uneasily and I could sense the tension as it took a few minutes to go through the process, so I let her know I appreciated her patience. She admitted, with some anxiety “I’m really not supposed to wait for people…”

Interesting comment…

Don’t get me wrong – I get that it’s the organization and their approach. I mean, would you hear that at an inspired organization like Virgin Airways?

I don’t think so.  Check this out from their blog:

“We believe in making a difference. Virgin stands for value for money, quality, innovation, fun and a sense of competitive challenge. We deliver a quality service by empowering our employees and we facilitate and monitor customer feedback to continually improve the customer’s experience through innovation.”

Since inception in 1970, the Virgin brand has grown to over $20 Billion in sales, as of 2011.

S’pose their philosophy on customer experience has anything to do with the phenomenal growth they’ve demonstrated?  There are other examples of legendary customer service leading to outstanding growth – Nordstrom’s comes to mind.

And it works for a business of any size.

Last week, I called a plumber in a rural town.  The lady who answered introduced herself and the company and asked, “…How can I make you smile today?”

Well, I told her, you already have…

So here’s a question I ask myself, that you may wish to consider: Whether you’re a solo operator, or running a big team of employees and outside contractors, how can we take off the blinders of task focus and create a customer oriented culture of “How can I make you smile today?”?

To your success,
– Mike

BTW, HostMonster is a company that constantly monitors customer experience with a one-question survey at the end of each call.

I usually give them top ratings. The reps are geared to help. Their site load times are much shorter and they seem to have many more readily available additional resources than the very well-known service I used to be with.

I heartily recommend HostMonster if you are considering switching hosting companies.


Great opportunities to help others seldom come,
But small ones surround us daily.

~ Sally Koch