I recently had a conversation with two customer service professionals regarding their behavior and thoughts towards customers. I happened to catch one of them placing a customer on hold and blurting out an obscenity. I could hear rage in his voice and thought something terrible was happening in his personal life that would warrant such an outburst. I was alarmed as I asked what the problem was and dumbfounded as he gave his explanation. As he explained it, the customer was purposely being stupid and lying to him. As we talked through the situation, it was obvious that he had made many assumptions
As someone who travels often, I have come to expect some bumps along the way when it comes to customer service. To get from point A to point B, I need to interact with at least a dozen customer service agents from different companies. By the time I get to my room at the hotel I am exhausted not only from the travel itself, but from trying to uplift all the lifeless customer service representatives. I greet them with a smile- they greet me with a blank expression. I thank them for their help and they say nothing in return. This has become such a pattern that I almost missed a very special
I was at the local Wal-Mart deli the other day and found myself waiting for a good five minutes before someone noticed I was standing there. Let me correct myself, before they ACKNOWLEDGED that I was standing there. The workers were busy avoiding me and kept their distance from the counter. They did all they could to avoid making eye contact. I finally caught the attention of an older lady who reluctantly made her way over to me and asked how she could help. As I gave her my order for honey ham, I noticed another customer waiting patiently too. The workers were busy at avoiding her too.
Many years ago I had the pleasure of providing training on personality for a group of prison workers. Using actors, I had created a skit to introduce the different personality types. We had our smarmy salesman, an artsy department head, a chronic complainer, a conservative accountant and a dictator. The goal of the skit was to show how the characters’ differences were tearing them apart so that I could then train them on how to use those differences for better results. The audience was able to laugh at the wild approaches the artsy department head offered to the team while fending off bad
Teresa is directly responsible for making and evaluating any Spanish secret shopper calls we complete for our customers. She has had to learn the nuances of the Spanish language as spoken by Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Mexican Americans, etc. She has learned that a construction dumpster may be called one thing in Puerto Rico, something else in Miami and yet another in Texas! But, the biggest source of frustration for her is what she experiences as a Spanish speaking customer. She has been transferred back and forth as a receptionist frantically tries to find someone who speaks Spanish. CSRs shout at her as if a request for assistance in Spanish means she is hard of hearing, too. If she is lucky enough to be connected to someone who does speak Spanish, he or she often knows little, if anything, about the subject she needs help with.
So, Teresa being Teresa, decided to do some research to see what was really happening in the marketplace when it came to winning and losing the Hispanic customer. She called 50 Hispanic households and asked if they preferred to speak with a customer service representative in English or Spanish. 70% of the individuals she spoke with said that they preferred to speak with someone in Spanish. Additionally, she determined they were more likely to ask friends and family for recommendations when looking for a service provider instead of researching on-line or using the yellow pages. With an estimated 40 million Hispanics living in the U.S. currently, representing about 9% of all consumer spending, maybe it is time for companies to look seriously at the way they treat their prospective and existing Spanish speaking customers.
Evaluating Your Current Service
1) Call into your company and see what happens when someone makes the selection for help in Spanish or asks your attendant for help in Spanish. Are the standards you have in place for the English speaking customers regarding hold time, number of rings and transfers the same standards you adhere to for the Hispanic callers?2) Conduct some research on the demographics of your service area. If there is a large Hispanic population, you need to have a person or team that can cater to them. Remember that word of mouth advertising is a big factor in how Hispanics choose a service provider.
4 Ways To Improve Service To Your Spanish Speaking Customers
1) Address your customer by proper name and keep small talk on a professional level.
2) Train your bi-lingual agents to be experts in what they are selling or servicing. Many Spanish speaking customers complain that the bi-lingual reps are ill-equipped to help so they must struggle through a conversation in English to get the best service and advice.
3) If you do not have a Spanish speaking representative that is qualified to talk to your customers, search the internet
We’ve all done it! You hear a voice, you picture the person, you draw a conclusion about the person and then decide whether or not the company is worthy of your money and loyalty! The focus for me is not whether I sound like I’m 5’6” and wearing the latest fashion, but whether or not I convey to my customer and those around me that I care and I want to serve. However, I am curious about whether I sound taller than my 5’1” frame!
When TOOTY INC. first started in 1988, telemarketing was the only form of advertising we used. Every day, religiously, we would contact new companies to
What a manager can do in 2009
Stand in any check-out line and see the cheerless expression. Call your service provider and hear the disinterest in the voice. Deceit, abuse, mistrust, disorganization, lying and cheating are commonplace in the workplace. Companies and departments are infested with negativity that sucks the life right out of those that are expected to “love on their customers”. Many of us wonder why, in a world where jobs are scarce, why aren’t people more excited about their jobs? As executives and managers we need to set good examples and fill the tanks of our customer service