What bothers you when you are a customer?

If it doesn't upset you too much, I'd like to ask you to reflect on and share what bothers you as a customer.  It can be in your professional lives (e.g. working with vendor technical support) or in your personal ones (e.g. standing in line at the checkout counter of a grocery store, or having work done on your house).  

This practice (thinking about annoyances) has become something of a running conversation and joke with my brother-in-law Vincent.  Whenever we're at our favorite restaurant, and I see something that bothers me, I tell Vincent about it. His response is always, "Go ahead and write them a letter."  He then adds, "But you know of course, to have any impact, it'll have to be in Chinese."

Sharing your complaints does two things: first, it's therapeutic.   In fact, several months of writing down my complaints about poor service led me one day to ask myself, "Why don't I develop a consulting and training practice on customer service?"  And that's exactly what I did.  You may or may not do the same thing, but you almost certainly will feel better.

Second, and more importantly, it can give you insight into dealing with your own customers and callers.  If something upsets you, chances are it would upset them as well.  As the old saying goes, "Forewarned is forearmed."  Or, if you prefer, "Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it."  Once you're aware of these annoyances, I'm hoping you'll avoid, even unintentionally, subjecting your customers to them.

I only ask that in addition to sharing your annoyances, you share two other things: WHY you were annoyed, and also what you would have done differently.  That analysis will help other readers.



Calvin Sun is an attorney who writes about technology and legal issues for TechRepublic.

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