One of the worst things that can happen to a customer who is distraught for one reason or another is to have to communicate with an employee who is just going through the motions in a robotic fashion and does not show an ounce of emotion or empathy.Fortunately for one distressed family, a Vodafone Egypt contact center agent not only listened to their pleas for help, but also recognized the urgency of the situation and went out of his way to assist them.
During the political unrest in Egypt earlier this year, customer care representative Ahmed Shalaby volunteered for work. While there, he received a call from a distraught family whose daughter was lost during the demonstrations. What made the situation more urgent was the fact that the girl, who suffers from a mental disability, knew only one telephone number to call and that number had been disconnected.
Realizing the importance of the girl being reunited with her parents as quickly as possible, Shalaby worked tirelessly to cut through red tape and have the line reconnected. His work paid off when moments after the line was reopened, the girl contacted her family and was safely reunited with them.
What Shalaby did to help this family in need might look like nothing out of the ordinary. He was approached with a problem and found a way to solve it, resulting in a happy ending. But, unfortunately, his attitude is not shared by all employees. How many times do cashiers at supermarkets huff and roll their eyes when asked to double-bag groceries? It's a simple request that can avoid major inconveniences for consumers. Or a waiter at a restaurant looks like he would rather be watching paint peel than serving hungry and thirsty guests?
Customers might seem to expect a lot and yet they only want to get what they are paying for, including good service and, as McDonald's advertizes on its menu, a few free smiles thrown their way.
In the end, customers also have a role to play. By showing appreciation to employees who, like Shalaby, go above and beyond the line of duty, they are urging them to continue doing sterling work, assuring them that their efforts are not going unnoticed.
But what's essential is that companies recognize their employees when they go beyond the call of duty. For Shalaby this recognition came in the form of being named a frontline customer service hero by Alcatel-Lucent, which launched the awards for Europe, Middle East and Africa customers of its subsidiary Genesys, an enterprise software supplier. Such an acknowledgement should help turn this positive attitude into the norm, ensuring that customers consistently interact with employees who take pride in their job and strive to do the best they can.
Because, after all, employees are a reflection of the company they work for and if they are bad representatives, they might cost you a customer.