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Doctor’s Make the Worst Patients

December 1, 2021 By The Siren Of Support Leave a comment

Doctors make the worst patients, or so I’ve heard. I am not one, I don’t even play one on TV, but even without a PH. D. I fully grasp the concept that it’s more difficult to help or advise someone on something that they are usually experts in.

I am the resident warranty process and escalations expert. Beyond that I have decades of customer service experience. I am not the worst customer but I am the worst critic and hold the bar high when it comes to how a company treats its customers, especially when having to say “No”.  

Recently, my furnace was deemed unsafe to run.  Luckily it was before the Wisconsin winter set in. While I was sad to see Old Berta go, I was thrilled to have a brand new, energy efficient heat source installed. And, even better yet, I have a home warranty that would cover the majority of the cost. Or so I thought… I followed the process, I started my claim. The home warranty company attempted to contact an HVAC company to confirm failure and submit their diagnosis. They were unable to. I became frustrated. Reiterated that my technician has already diagnosed the issue and that a new furnace was required. Fast forward 6 days. They have accepted the diagnosis and spoken to my tech. They denied my claim based on assumption. I managed to get the case escalated. They find a company to inspect the furnace as a second opinion. This company tells them the same thing. The failure is due to the age of the unit. It is common. This was not caused by neglect or failure to perform proper maintenance. They proceed to deny the claim. Again. I tear apart the unit myself. I prove to them that there is no damage or corrosion. I call, I email, I text. I get the same scripted response time and time again. Finally they gave me the boot. They tell me there is nothing that will reverse the decision even though they admittedly are denying my claim in violation of their contract verbiage. I am livid. 

I am not mad because my claim was denied. I am not mad that I was told “No”. I am mad because of how and why I was told “No”. After the first no, I would bet that most of their clients accept it for what it is and walk away. I am not that client. And I am not that client because of what I do. I make the worst customer when I am on the receiving end of terrible service. On the flip side. I appreciate and compensate for an excellent experience. I hold the standards of the companies I do business with to a level that matches my own.  

How do you use your customer service expertise when you are on the other side of the counter?  Are you a good customer? Or a  bad customer? Or shouldn’t even be a customer at all?   

  1. Do Not Abuse Your Power: Customer service skills are a super power. You have an arsenal of tools loaded up and ready to launch. You know how to get to the manager. You know the right words to say to get heard. Use these with discretion and only in times that you truly have a reason to fight the good fight. But definitely use them to defend yourself and your money.  
  2.  Treat People How You Want to be Treated: Be the customer that you want to help. Are you screaming, name calling, threatening? Put yourself on the receiving end and remember that this is not a customer you would help. Make them want to help you. 
  3. Remember That Not All Companies Are Created Equal: Sometimes you just won’t win. The rep you are talking to does not have the freedom to do the right thing. Their big wigs don’t care about one upset customer and few bad reviews that can be erased with 5 star ratings that they bought. Don’t take it personal. You are still a customer service superstar. You just aren’t playing with a trustworthy opponent. 
  4. Admit You are Wrong (if you are wrong): I hate to be wrong. Had I opened up my furnace and saw nothing but rust and corrosion I can’t say that I would have backed off and conceded. But that would have been the admirable path. Personally, I am more apt to help if a customer is truthful. So you dropped the trans off the jack? You didn’t add enough fluid? An honest answer will get you further (with me at least) than the blame game. 

Millions of people in the U.S. work in the service industry. Chances are pretty good that you will have a person on your line that considers themselves a service expert. They will be a worthy contender. Pull out your customer service crown, and wow them.  Be ready to be the best rep you can be both at the counter and behind the counter.

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