One of the things a manufacturer considers before the release of a product is the customer centre where the customers can have an experience as it concerns the product. Potential customers go to these centres to make enquiries about the product they are interested in and sometimes these customers are allowed to have an experience of what it would feel like to own this product. For the customers that already own the product, this is a place they can get accessories for the product, service the product and upgrade this product if necessary. The customer service persons that you find in these centres are ‘trained’ to satisfy the customers’ needs.
Some months back, I had a terrible experience with my tablet. The tablet decided to have a mind of its own. It froze! I tried everything I knew to bring it back; tried to restart – no response, searched the Internet for people who might have had the same experience I was facing – tried their solutions, no response! I was really frustrated. I had important information on the tablet that I needed to retrieve to finish up a job I had started. In my frustration, I decided to leave the tablet with me thinking to myself, ‘when you are ready you would unfreeze yourself…mscheew’. I could not leave it as I claimed I would; every passing hour was torture for me. In my lamentations, I recounted my plight to my brother. He then told me to leave it; two of his friends had had similar experiences and all they did was leave the tablet to discharge the battery completely. He went further to tell me that my particular model of tablet has been having a lot of issues. ‘Yepa!’ Just before my tablet went into the freeze mode, I had just charged it fully. As of the time I was recounting my story, it had been a week of torture and my battery was reading 87%. I tried to do the Maths; it meant I would have to wait for about four more weeks before I had my tablet back *sad face*. I began to desperately desire a change of model since a new model had just been released a few weeks before.
I could not bring myself to accept that as the only solution to the experience I was having so I decided to change location of my lamentations. It was then a friend reminded me about the customer centre for the particular tablet. I decided I was going to upgrade and no longer deal with the torture the current model was giving me; weeks of painfully waiting for the battery to discharge. So I set out for this customer centre. On getting to the centre, I headed for the first person I saw. This customer service person had a colleague standing by her side. This was how our conservation went
Uhunoma: ‘Good afternoon’
CSP female: ‘Good afternoon’
Waiting for why I interrupted her gist with her colleague
Uhunoma: ‘I have an issue with my tablet and I need your help’
CSP female: ‘Did you bring your tablet?’
I could already read impatience in her disposition.
Uhunoma: ‘No I did not. My tablet froze a few weeks ago and I have not been able to unfreeze it since then. I tried everything I knew and could not get it to unfreeze. When I shared my plight with some people, I realised that quite a number of people with my current model have been having the same problem. I would like to know if that is something that has come to your notice of late.’
CSP female: ‘Did you try to hard reset it? You said you tried everything you knew, why didn’t you bring it here?’
She totally ignored what I said about other people complaining that the same model had been giving them similar issues. Clearly, she could not wait to end the conversation she was having with me so she could return to her gist.
Uhunoma: ‘I just told you that I did not bring the tablet, one. Secondly, I mentioned that some other people have been having issues with this same model. I only want to know if it has come to your notice because I am willing to make an upgrade if that is the case.’
Her response to statement was a shocker.
CSP female: ‘Doesn’t your laptop freeze?!’
I was so stunned! Her expression was as if ‘ask me again’ and see what happens. I could not believe that was coming from the representative of the manufacturer. This was too shocking. While I was still trying to process her response, I saw another customer service person and simply walked up to him.
Uhunoma: ‘Good afternoon. You really need to teach your people how to talk to customers.’*By this time I was pissed*
CSP male: ‘Good afternoon. I’m sorry about the reception you had. How can I help you?’
Uhunoma: ‘I just laid a complaint to your colleague that my tablet has frozen for some weeks now and that some people have been complaining that my current model has been having similar issues. I wanted to know if such complaints had come to your notice because I am willing to have an upgrade. What would her response be to my entire story?! Doesn’t your laptop freeze? Can you just imagine?!’
CSP male: ‘I’m really sorry about the response you had from my colleague. I apologise on behalf of this customer centre. You do not need to make an upgrade, please allow me show you something else you can do to unfreeze your tablet since your tablet is not here at the moment.’
He went ahead to show me something else I had not tried and I told him I would give it a try as soon as I got home.
Uhunoma: ‘I’m really glad I met you here. I do not think I would have returned to this particular customer centre if not for my encounter with you. I really appreciate your kind approach unlike your colleague; she was not nice at all. She was so rude!’
CSP male: ‘You are most welcome. I apologise again. Do have a lovely day.’
Uhunoma: ‘And you too. Thank you again and I would definitely give you a feedback.’
I left the customer centre pondering on the contrasting interactions I had with both customer centre persons. If I had left the centre after interacting with the first person, I might never have returned to that centre but my interaction with the second customer centre person made me realise that the reception we receive from all of these centres is based mostly on the personality of the person that receives us. I honestly would not like to meet an ‘ask me again’ customer centre person anywhere else. Food for thought: Should our personality be an obstacle to business.