We're Helping Another Valued Customer… Just Like You!

It has taken me years to control my eye-rolling response to irritating on-hold message of “Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line.” Not to worry, though, I heard another version of this sarcastic message this morning. While trying to update my account at the gym – yes, the one that I haven’t actually been to in a few weeks – I had the following experience:
Me:   [Dial number, new credit card in hand]
Gym: Six-Pack Gym… can you hold, please?
Me:   Uhh…
Gym: Click — [Thumping Hold Music begins]
Me:   Sure, I’ll hold… hello?
Gym: [Automatic Message] Thank you for holding. Our customer service representative is currently serving another valued customer, just like you. Thank you for your patience. We’ll be with you shortly. [bass-thumping music begins again]
Me:   [eye-rolling response kicks in… with a slight shaking of my head — hey, that’s a new one!]

30 Seconds Later…

Gym: This is Fran, how may I help you?
Me:   I need to update my credit card information, please.
Gym: Oh, you can just come on in and update that information.
Me:   Uhh…
Gym: Thank you. Goodbye.
[that last part was an internal conversation with myself]
[Place receiver back in phone cradle… which was difficult because eye-rolling response was still going on.]
I guess I’m just going to have to fight back against my gym and start going there everyday this week and use two towels instead of one!! That’ll teach them about this “valuable customer.”

When I worked as a programmer, we used to have a saying that “making something was easy, but making something ‘easy’ was difficult.” I guess the same could be said for customer service. Saying that you’re a valuable customer is easy, but showing someone that they are a valuable customer — you know, like by updating credit card information over the phone instead of making them come to your store apparently takes some effort. This makes me want to take a look at my own style of dealing with my customers (aka Clients), and make sure I'm not just saying “valued customer”, but actually delivering valuable customer service.

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Anonymous said...

There is an enjoyable new book out on this topic. Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us: Customer Service and What It Reveals About Our World and Our Lives by Emily Yellin. You will never deal with or provide customer service the same way, once you have read it.

Thea Warner said...

The gym I go to is part of a national chain and there seems to be a high turnover rate among employees. I think this impacts the level of customer service provided. Employees aren't there long enough to have much of an "investment" in the company. I have found this to be true (and particularly troubling) in childcare centers that have a high staff turnover rate as well.


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