Every now and then I run into that one person who manages to push me over the limit of mental stability. Usually it’s a friend who is keen enough to know what strikes a nerve, and like a sadistic dentist, digs at the root until I politely tell him or her to go sodomize themselves with a traffic cone.
Having done my time in a customer service job, I learned the skills necessary to diffuse a hostile situation and give the irate caller a virtual dose of Xanax over live-chat so we can work towards a productive resolution to their problem.
This morning however, my intestinal fortitude was pushed to the max and I’m beginning to wonder if I was set up.
I got an email from a “potential customer” asking if I would take some time and explain the benefits of responsive website design to them since they were considering redesigning their eCommerce store. Without hesitation I setup a call and spent a good 40 minutes with Ms. Potential Customer.
She went on to explain that her website hasn’t been redesigned since 2007, which by the looks of it, I put it somewhere around 1999. I spoke about all the benefits responsive website design offers, especially for her mobile shoppers, which she told me makes up 19% of her traffic.
With nearly a quarter of site traffic coming from smartphones and tablets, she’s a good candidate for responsive. I tried to order from her site on an iPhone and pointed out that it’s not only frustrating but downright impossible.
“I don’t really care about mobile shoppers, they’re just cherry picking when they’re in a real store.”
The next few minutes were spent explaining the ways shoppers use their mobile devices to “cherry pick” and find the best deal which often times results in an order from an online retailer than a bricks-and-mortar.
All of a sudden she told me she has a degree in “human behavior” and understands what I’m saying but it really doesn’t matter.
I politely asked, “If you don’t care about mobile shoppers, why are we even talking about responsive website design?”
Suddenly the conversation turned to how a friend of hers said all sorts of derogatory things about our company, and that she didn’t want to do business with us anyway, but wanted to see if I would actually take her call.
See where I think this was a bit of a set up?
Now I know competitors secret shop their competitors all the time. Hell, I’ve blogged numerous times about how I ordered from my main competitors once a month just to see what they were throwing into their shipping cartons and to test out their customer service after the sale.
But why would someone secret shop me? I’m not a sales person. I don’t get commission. I don’t even get entered into the quarterly sales referral raffle where I have the opportunity to win fantastic prizes like Starbucks gift cards, a color television (because they don’t make black and white ones any more) or one of those fancy video game things I would never figure out how to use anyway.
Maybe it was one of my “friends” pulling a fast one on me rather than a sneaky competitor trying to see if I really do use the f-bomb as an adjective in casual conversation. I’m proud to say, the bomb bay doors remained closed until the phone call was over.
But this whole lesson in time wasting made me think about the people on the front lines of customer service. The men and women on the other end of the phone who get to listen to people day in and day out complain because the size 10 shoe they ordered didn’t fit right because they thought they could fit into it even though they’re a size 12. Or, the restaurant server on the receiving end of a diner’s tirade over a steak arriving with a cool pink center despite asking for it to be cooked rare.
While I do spend a great portion of my day dealing with customers, the group I have on my client list are more than that. We have a close enough relationship that I can tell them about that horrible date I had last night that ended with me Googling “how to get rid of a urinary tract infection.” At the same time, they can tell me about the wonderful date they had that ended with them Googling “are home pregnancy tests accurate?”
It’s all part of the game, even if I don’t get to win a prize.