Saturday, August 27, 2011

Customer Service

I work for a health club organization as a Member and Financial Services Representative.  At the end of the month is when I tend to get my most trying members coming to me with ridiculous requests, like cancelling while in a 12 month agreement, or asking why they were still being charged even though they didn't use the Club for the last two weeks of June.  I mean, shouldn't they get a refund since they didn't use it even though the agreement they signed clearly states that their membership is not based on usage and if they want to go on hold and not be charged it is for an entire month since we bill by the month, not the week or day.
Part of my position is to uphold company policies in terms of membership changes, cancellations, or additions.  When I have to tell a member "no" because their request does not go along with the policies upheld by our Clubs, they tend to take it one of two ways.  The respectful customers say, "Alright, that's fine, I just figured I'd ask".  The rude customers tend to say something like "This is an outrage.  Your company doesn't know how to do business, and I want to speak to a manager" with some expletives thrown in along the way.  The majority of member's are the latter.  You can tell I have a really fun job.  Calling people and telling them they owe money and getting yelled at for something out of my control. I'm living the dream.
What really bothers me about these members that get so upset is not that they are yelling at me or accusing me of something I didn't do, it is that they are not willing to own up to the fact that they agreed to something and are now trying to change the terms of that agreement. 
You always hear the horror stories of gym memberships and the people that get stuck and the company is so horrible to work with.  I try and brake that stereotype with my members.  I try and be courteous and kind and give in where I can, but I'm sorry, you not coming in to the Club and deciding to change your credit card information does not count as a written 30 day notice of cancellation any way that you look at it.   Customer service is not about giving the customer whatever they want, it is about working inside the parameters that you and the customer originally set to get the best solution for them.  Now trust me, I don't always stick so straight line to policy when dealing with members, but I also don't want to have my butt pushed out the door by my boss because I gave every customer every single ridiculous thing they wanted.
I guess that my main point is that these people who come in and believe that their three wishes should be granted by me because of this magical thing, customer service, should choose to honor their agreements and stop bothering me when they can't handle them.  Be an adult and keep your promises.  Don't sit their and believe you are owed something simply because you are a consumer.  You purchased a good, whether you use it or not is your choice. 

Vocab words:  Words used by opponents in Words with Friends that I had no clue existed

Qat: variation of the word Khat-A white flowered evergreen shrub
Kens: Knowledge, understanding, cognizance; mental perception