Customer Service, Assumptions and Listening

I was at the co-op yesterday and saw the booth selling phone calling cards.  I keep wanting to ask about them but always forget because mainly I don’t really need them.  Yesterday I had the time and decided to ask.

Me:  How much are the calling cards?

Salesperson:  This one is for 3.5

Me: What are the rates?

Salesperson: 70 minutes to Egypt.  [He assumed I only wanted to talk to Egypt]

Me: (Trying to calculate the minute rate to compare to skype, but that’s too difficult and I was also carrying a squirmy baby)  Can you tell me the minute rate.

Salesperson:  It is 3.5 KD for 70 minutes [He didn’t listen to my question and gave me a totally different answer than the one I needed]

Me:  Can I use it from my mobile phone or does it have to be a landline?

Salesperson:  No, only from Skype.

Me:  But I already have Skype, I want something to use from my mobile phone.

Salesperson:  We have another type but they are too expensive for you, buy this one. [He assumed it was too expensive, I found it rude and offensive]

Me: Yes, but I need something to use from my mobile phone.

Salesperson:  No they are too expensive.

Me:  I understand but I don’t want to talk from my PC.

Salesperson:  They are too expensive for you

And this is where I walked away having not bought anything.

I am not trying to make fun of him or complain about customer service, even though it was quite bad.  I was curious and really did want to try the service, even the Skype cards seemed like an interesting option and they are the same price as buying credit online  (I did the math right now using a calculator).  How many times do we have conversations with people where we assume and don’t really listen to what they have to say even though they are being quite clear?  Had the man taken the time and interest in my questions I might have taken interest and bought something instead I am taking my business elsewhere, especially that these cards are available everywhere.  Human relationships are exactly the same thing.

You have to listen carefully to what the person talking to you is saying.  You have to ask questions if you don’t understand or think you might not have fully understood their intended meaning.  You have to avoid making assumptions and if you do feel the need to make one, then ask the person if your assumption is true.

As the person on the other side, you also have to be patient enough to explain your ideas and thoughts.  If you don’t feel the person is correctly receiving then try a different approach.  In life you can’t always take your business elsewhere.

Invest the time and energy in your conversations so that eventually you get some return on them.

9 Comments

  • At 2009.09.30 12:36, Cinderella said:

    well i train Customer Service in a lot of places and let me tell u something,if his boss knew he would alert him ..
    am sorry u had to go through this..

    personally if that happened to me i would have given him a huge piece of my mind..

    asl ana shodaleyya :$

    • At 2009.10.01 14:33, jessyz said:

      I usually do give them a piece of my mind. But it was 10 pm and I had a very sleepy and angry baby on my shoulder. I usually do complain to management and follow up on things like this, but I just didn’t have the energy to do it that day. It’s a shame that basic 101 customer service is not even there.
      What kind of Customer Service Training do you give? It must be an interesting job.

      • At 2009.10.03 02:27, Cinderella said:

        well mainly am a soft skills Trainer..as for the customer sevice , i deliver the (on the phone) customer service and (face to face) one,

        how to deal,
        what to say,
        body language,
        kinds of customers,
        communication skills :))

        kda y3ni ..

        again am sorry u had to go through this :)

        • At 2009.10.08 09:27, jessyz said:

          Sounds like a really interesting job, how did you get into that?

          Hahahah it didn’t bother me that much, I just thought it was a wasted sales opportunity mainly.

          • At 2009.10.25 07:54, Abid said:

            That’s sooo rude! He should get fired for that.

            • At 2009.10.25 09:24, jessyz said:

              Or retrained to be able to deal with customers.

              • At 2009.11.01 12:43, mentabolism said:

                try voipvoip.com or some other SIP provider. You need to open an account, buy credits online, set up your mobile phone and viola…

                • At 2009.11.01 16:22, jessyz said:

                  Actually I got a JustVoip account and did exactly that, thanx though.

                  • At 2010.07.13 04:42, Eric Patterson said:

                    when running a business, the first thing you should do is always establish a good customer service:~;