A sim­ple cus­tomer ser­vice test

The Covington News - - LIFESTYLE - DAVID W. MCCOY COLUM­NIST David McCoy, a no­to­ri­ous sto­ry­teller and proud Yel­low Jacket, lives in Cov­ing­ton. He can be reached at davm­c­coy@bell­south.net.

Be­fore be­ing al­lowed to work with the pub­lic, job ap­pli­cants should be re­quired to take a cus­tomer ser­vice skills test to see if they have any busi­ness be­ing be­hind a cash reg­is­ter or wear­ing a fancy name tag.

You’d think test­ing would be a com­mon­place re­quire­ment. But if it is, we clearly need a bet­ter way to de­tect cus­tomer ser­vice re­jects. So, here’s the test I would use, one that’s com­pletely un­sci­en­tific, and prob­a­bly not even safe to use in the work en­vi­ron­ment, but that’s not my prob­lem. If you use a hu­mor colum­nist as part of your out­sourced Hu­man Re­sources depart­ment, you’ve got big­ger is­sues than cus­tomer ser­vice.

Ques­tion one: “Do you hate cus­tomers?” This blunt ques­tion gets straight to the heart of half of all cus­tomer ser­vice is­sues. If you’ve ever met a surly reg­is­ter jockey, or an an­gry young waiter, or a hate­filled hat check girl, you know what I’m talk­ing about. If you ask this ques­tion and get a “yes” or even a “well... maybe... sure,” then you’ve found some­one who is about to make a ca­reer mis­take at your ex­pense. This per­son needs to be in a dif­fer­ent job more suited for his/her ha­tred of hu­man­ity. Vil­lains need hench­men, so that’s a pos­si­bil­ity. Ask them how they look in a cape. Or, you could sug­gest they work the grave­yard se­cu­rity shift in a grave­yard. You get very few flesh-and-blood visi­tors at 3 a.m. on bone-yard pa­trol. Just don’t put th­ese ap­pli­cants be­hind your cash reg­is­ter so they can huff and moan and com­plain as they cre­ate loyal ex-cus­tomers for your busi­ness. Ques­tion two: “Do you hate ser­vice?” This blunt ques­tion nails the re­main­ing 50 per­cent of the cus­tomer ser­vice prob­lem. What if your ap­pli­cant says, “Ser­vice? I dunno... That’s… like... WORK, right?” Oh boy, have you been spared a ma­jor hir­ing blun­der! Sug­gest the ap­pli­cant go into a job where real work is op­tional. Sug­gest he/she con­sider tak­ing a job at the zoo groom­ing the uni­corns. Just don’t let that ap­pli­cant laze around your place while your cus­tomer base writes you off for good.

As you can see, 100 per­cent of bad cus­tomer ser­vice comes down to two sim­ple things: ha­tred of the cus­tomer and/or ha­tred of ser­vice. Pretty sim­ple, huh? Yeah. Well, It’s been won­der­ful chat­ting with you! Do come back soon if I can be of fur­ther ser­vice. Gosh, I’ll miss you un­til then!

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