It is well known that Jamaica has very bad customer service, at least when relating with other Jamaicans. Customer service agents (CSAs), whether by phone or in person, make it quite obvious that your problems are of no interest to them. Could it be that Jamaican CSAs are so honest, so real, that no form of hypocrisy or pretense can be expressed? Is the pay too little? Are there no sanctions for substandard customer service? Whatever the reason, nothing justifies bad customer service. The customer is always right.
I have worked a number of years in customer service and I know how critical it is for businesses that CSAs respect their customers. I recall working for Amazon.com, every call was recorded and disrespecting a customer was an offense which warranted immediate termination. I was surprised to see how well the Jamaican agents performed! We were on top of the world, literally, where customer satisfaction was concerned. It is interesting to note that we were being paid just about 25% of the pay American CSAs were paid, for better quality work. Given that the pay wasn’t anything to smile about, what was it that kept us motivated to excel? Were we enthused with the idea of communicating with the glorious American customers who were so very nice to us? I believe it was the desperate financial need, the managers with whips at our backs and the threat of termination. I must say, however, it was not a difficult job and I am thankful for that opportunity as I learned quite a lot. I could be wrong, but I don’t believe sanctions are enforced as readily here in Jamaica when CSAs disrespect customers. It could also be due to the fact that in the USA customers are very dangerous people, they know their rights and never refrain from employing its use.
I remember my first time calling Dominoes Pizza. I was just a hungry guy trying to fill a hole of sadness with the food of gladness. I assumed it would have been a quick, easy call. I didn’t know the specifics or the offerings of the franchise and upon inquiry I was greeted with sighs and tones of frustration. I completed the order, eventually, and asked that when dealing with first time customers, she (wish I remembered her name) should be more courteous. She pretended nothing was said and replied “Wait 45 minutes for delivery!” then hung up. Yes! Hung up! Oh my heart burned within me and I declared that I would make no more orders from Dominoes Pizza. This is an example of the many substandard customer service we Jamaicans receive on a daily basis. While I would love to call the names of all the companies which provide terrible customer service, I will allow you to make you comments or share experiences in the comment section below.
I learned many strategies for dealing with angry customers. Some of these strategies can be employed by a customer who would like to receive top class customer service. It is the duty of the CSA to provide these services but given our current situation you may find these quite useful until our customer service departments are improved.
How to get very good customer service
- Greet with a smile – Smiles are contagious so when approaching a CSA, smile and make eye contact. I can assure you, you will receive a much better response when compared to a straight face approach. This strategy cannot work via phone and it is dependent on the situation. If you are an angry customer, you may find this strategy very difficult.
- Ask how they are doing – Some of us are just full of ourselves, so talking about ourselves is always a pleasure. Asking this question gives the CSA the impression that you care but you are just doing this so you can get the service you deserve.
- Ask about their experiences – Try to get the CSA to imagine themselves in your positions. Ask: Has this ever happened to you? Imagining they are in the same position will influence them to make an increased effort to solve your problem.
- Use their names – Build rapport. Yes, its like doing their work for them but having a conversation and remembering their names will make a significant positive impact.
- Be brief – Most CSAs want you gone in the first minute. In some cases they are assessed based on the number of contacts they made so being brief makes them happy. Happy CSA = respected customer.
- Use a little creole – They have to speak standard English (acrolect) every day all day. It is reviving to hear a little of the mother tongue. Just a little, and not while venting. It will put the CSA at ease.
- Compliment/thank the CSA – Thank the CSA for a job well done. Where possible, give a commendation. It is also nice to give compliments. I remember talking to this lady who asked if I work at a radio station. I said no and she told me I had such a lovely voice, she would just sit and listen to me all day! I nearly fainted, never blushed so much in my life. That lady could have me do anything for her after that compliment! I was all hers.
If none of the aforementioned strategies work, please report CSA to manager, recommending their immediate dismissal.
– Aldeam Facey 2015