Persevere - Providing Good Customer Service Even When It's Outside Your Purview

Establishing a new telephone account the other day, I noted that there was going to be monetary credit if I simply logged on to the cell phone company's home page and filled out a simple survey. Obviously I am going to take full advantage of such an offer, so I dutifully went online, filled out the survey, clicked their "submit" button and then checked my account balance. No credit. "Okay," I thought, "maybe it takes 24 hours for their system to credit the account. I'll check tomorrow."

Tomorrow arrived, checked account, no credit. I thought perhaps something had gone afoul with my submission so I went back into the form, changed around a few answers, clicked submit again, got the "Success!" page again, checked my balance again, was not credited the promised money - AGAIN.

Waited another 24 hours, checked my account page, found the credit had still not been applied, and went back to the brick and mortar store where I'd made the purchase and requested their assistance. I was informed that the sales clerk could not help me in any way since they did not handle the customer service part of that business. The business which she had happily marketed and sold to me only a few days before.

I asked her what her advice would be for me to resolve this situation. Her answer?


"Persevere? How exactly am I to persevere?"

"Persevere in filling out the form until you see the credit."

This incorrect answer to my problem brought home the simple lesson of choosing your words carefully when addressing customers, candidates, clients, etc. Especially in difficult times, an incorrect word can come across as callous or condescending and can earn you the rancor of a network that you've carefully developed through the years. Obviously, people can have an off day and there is a certain amount of grace that must be afforded when dealing in any business transaction. Having a solid "go-to" cadre of clear and empathetic business vocabulary can help you avoid these slip-ups and care must be taken to cultivate these and implement them into our daily work lives.

Because take it from me, when you relate a problem that you're having to a customer service person and you hear their advice: PERSEVERE you may do it, but you won't be happy about it.

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