October 07, 2006

It's All About The Customer Service

T1G in customer service is never going to happen.

At one time, my brothers and I were talking very seriously about starting up our own shop. Hell, we still talk about it on occasion. Anyway, we figured that when it came to the mechanical aspects, my youngest brother and I would take care of it, with R doing the majority, the books would be kept by me, as I'm a little better in math than the other two, and The Perfect One would be our face. That guy can talk to anyone, where R and I would prefer not to talk much at all. And the thing is, he can tell you that you're being an idiot... no exact words were, "a dumb fucker", and you'll look at him and grin about it. Damnedest thing I've ever seen.

But when it comes to me dealing with folks... I've got none of that skill. Yeah, yeah, yeah... some of you have said that I'm better than I thought, but the truth is, I'm not as good as I need to be. Especially here.

My aunt usually takes the calls, and I'll deal with the walk ins. She get's flustered dealing with people who just stop by and say, "I need something just like this," displaying a corroded bolt or whatever in their hand. I have a bit of a phone phobia, so it's a good deal for me, as there's far fewer customers that will stop by the store. She will pass the phone off to me as soon as she hears the word "Harley," though, so I do have to deal with it a little bit. I also get to answer all of the Harley questions and requests in the email. Some days my jaws kill me from teeth clenching... as today.

Some of the crap is just stupid little things, and I shouldn't let it get to me. But it does. For instance, I was building a custom engine kit for a guy, and I'd had to make a couple of calls back home to someone in the know. My head is in this kit, not on bikes. Now, just a quick aside, Harleys basically come in three different types (well, four, counting the Sportsters), the Dynas, the Softails, and the touring bikes. If you called me and said, "Hey, bro, I've got a Road King, and I want to get a kit for it," I know that you need a kit for the touring models. It's easy, and it's the way most folks talk about their bikes... not many will call their Road King a FLHR, though that's the official model designator.

Anyway, this guy calls, and tells me that he's got an FLSTF. Hey, that rings a bell. Then he tells me that he's been on the website, and that we don't offer a kit for his bike. He has a couple of questions, but I'm already thinking, "With the year he said, we should have it, no matter what model it is." So I think for a second, and ask, "FLSTF? That's a Softail, right?" Silence. "Okay, you said you have an FLSTF... I'm pretty sure that's a Softail, but if I knew for sure, I could answer your question. There's three different bike types, and it does matter." A few seconds of silence, then a nasty, "I said, I've got an FLSTF." "Okay... hang on one."

Grinding teeth. Soft snarls.... I grabbed a Harley parts catalog which only showed the different parts for different bikes, and I write down the variations of the setup he's asking about. Luckily, I found a new bike flyer showing the different models and what they were. Sure enough... FLSTF is a Fat Boy... a Softail!!! "Okay, sir... you've got a Softail. There should be one on the site... let me check, for you." Another nasty shot, "I know... I'm looking at it right now."

WTF, asshole?!?!? You "can't find it on the site???" What the hell are you looking at then? You don't even know that your bike is a FAT BOY? Hell, most Fat Boy owners couldn't tell you the proper model designation... myself being one of them.

"Okay, sir... what other questions did you have?"

The guy did place an order, so it should have been cool. I let it eat at me, though. People can be difficult...

Today, we've got another guy being a royal pain in the ass. The story is long and complicated, but in the end it comes down to this: he ordered a part that we told him we did not have specs for (he didn't have them himself), and when we shipped it off, it turned out being wrong. My fault, I know, and I'm cool with it. A little frustrated about getting the order wrong, but I can take the very, very rare occasion where I just so happen to be not right. I mean, some of us have to prove our humanity.

The part I can't deal with is this guy has been a sarcastic, demeaning, and condescending fuck. No, actually, I can deal with that part. It's that I've got to kiss his ass when dealing with him. Customer always right, and all. We did get everything straightened out, after all, so maybe it's worth it in the long haul... no bad feed back. But in the meantime, I'm stewing. I would so love to find this pencil dicked weasel and flatten him. But I'm a good Christian fucker.

I think it's time for a glass of scotch.

Posted by That 1 Guy at October 7, 2006 04:27 PM | TrackBack

Oh yeah... It's time...

Posted by: Richmond at October 7, 2006 05:57 PM

Personally, I refuse that buy into that whole "customer is always right" part. But then again, that's why I really don't sell any more. Cause you are exactly right - kissin' their ass is the worst part, and I'm not so good at that either.

As for the not being right? (and I can't believe *I'm* gonna say this...) there is nothing wrong with what ya said. DAMN :-)

Posted by: Tammi at October 7, 2006 06:11 PM

I'm OK with the Customer is always right. What I have a problem with is that the Customer thinks he has the right to be an asshole. He doesn't. If he's going to be an asshole, he needs to go elsewhere to do business.

And this is why I hate my job. I'm tired of dealing with condescending assholes. Let me tell you... engineeers have cornered the market on how to be a condescending asshole. For awhile I had a saying, "So... were you an asshole so you became an engineer or did they teach you to be one in engineering school?"

Posted by: Bou at October 8, 2006 08:05 AM

There ain't problem a customer been born with that a 9mm can't fix.

Posted by: BloodSpite at October 8, 2006 10:02 PM