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Seven steps to remarkable customer service

Joel on Software blogCracking read over at Joel Spolsky's blog.

His headings (which you'll really need to read the article for are):
  1. Fix everything two ways
  2. Suggest blowing out the dust
  3. Make customers into fans
  4. Take the blame
  5. Memorize awkward phrases
  6. Practice puppetry
  7. Greed will get you nowhere
  8. (Bonus!) Give customer service people a career path

Some of the ideas from his article that resonated with me:
We treat each tech support call like the NTSB treats airliner crashes. Every time a plane crashes, they send out investigators, figure out what happened, and then figure out a new policy to prevent that particular problem from ever happening again. It’s worked so well for aviation safety that the very, very rare airliner crashes we still get in the US are always very unusual, one-off situations.

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Instead of telling them to check a setting, tell them to change the setting and then change it back “just to make sure that the software writes out its settings.”

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When customers have a problem and you fix it, they’re actually going to be even more satisfied than if they never had a problem in the first place.

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“Ah. It’s my fault,” he said.

And suddenly, I wasn’t mad at all.

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“I don’t care if you’ve been coming here forever. My waiters are not rude.” The owner proceeded to yell at her. “I never had no problems. Why are you making problems?”

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And since they’re treating you like a puppet, an iconic stand-in for the real business, you need to treat yourself as a puppet, too.
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Use stories to get your point across
One note I would end on that's a wee bit off the subject - use stories to get ideas across. All through the above excellent article Joel has used real life, personal and emtovie stories to get the underlying story across. We all connect with stories!

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