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Customer Service Kudos

T-Mobile and Siggi’s share emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence can take many forms, from admitting a mistake to giving consumers an enlightening experience.

Siggi’s Yogurt did the former. T-Mobile gets a shout-out for the latter.

Within a week of starting to consume Siggi’s Yogurt, I received the following email: “We heard you loud and clear…In our never ending quest to lower sugar, we changed the siggi’s original 2% formula and some of our skyr lovers aren’t diggin’ it. That’s never cool with us. The good news is, mistakes are how things get better, and in our case, tastier. So, most of the new formula ‘blue cups’ are off store shelves, replaced by our original ‘white cup’ 2% formula! We hope you (and your dog) love it again. For those of you that liked the new recipe – you can still find siggi’s blue cups at Whole Foods Market and other select retailers nationwide – we didn’t want to leave you out.”

T-Mobile outdueled AT&T in the customer service department, according to writer Chris Matyszczyk in zdnet.com. He writes: “AT&T says it has big problems. A T-Mobile salesman showed me how big…AT&T’s CEO says he’s not happy with his brand. A visit to two phones stores shows the chasm he may need to bridge… I went to an AT&T store…to see Samsung’s Galaxy Flip 3 and Galaxy Fold 3…I’ve been an AT&T customer for almost 20 years. Those phones seem especially riveting to me, though I’ve never held one. Perhaps an AT&T salesperson could inspire me to finally toss my iPhone to the winds.”

He walked into an AT&T store that had two customers and was told the wait time was 30 minutes by a saleswoman who walked away without asking why he was there. He notes, “I left, with the latest words of AT&T CEO John Stankey swishing around my brain: ‘Frankly, I’m not satisfied with where the AT&T brand stands right now.’ He worries the company isn’t well positioned for the next 10 years. I worry it’s not well positioned to offer basic customer service right now.”

Matyszczyk then writes that he went to a T-Mobile store, which had four customers in a store smaller than AT&T’s. After 30 seconds, he was greeted by a salesperson ready to help him. After checking T-Mobile signal strength in his area, the salesperson showed him the actual coverage, which currently isn’t great.

Matyszczyk then pursued the conversation about Samsung’s folding phones, saying he’s iPhone. He then notes that he believes the salesperson would have continued the conversation no matter how many people were in the store, adding, “I’d experienced this sort of service attitude at a T-Mobile store before, but I’d imagined it was perhaps a one-off, a single enthusiast. But to maintain this standard of service during and emerging from a pandemic was remarkable…It’s a rare feat of customer experience when you find yourself unable to buy the product, but desperately wanting to buy something from this person…I felt so good about the interaction that it genuinely lifted my day. Then I looked at my phone and thought: ‘Hey, it’s still five minutes before anyone at the AT&T store will talk to me.’”

Admitting mistakes and taking steps to improve, plus being willing to spend time with people when there isn’t immediate promise of a sale are sure signs of emotional intelligence. Siggi’s is considered a top key player in the probiotic and prebiotic yogurt market, while T-Mobile appears to be on a strong financial glidepath. Bottom line, emotional intelligence can help drive profits.

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A key tenet of successful customer service is the level of emotional intelligence or ignorance that prevails. This pervades all facets of customer service, but one where much improvement is needed is the written word. Especially now, amid major stress, anger, and frustration, corporate America could do itself proud by communicating positively and supportively. Instead, it appears often that the level of human angst also permeates the tone of written communications. Companies wanting to up their level of customer service need to look at toning down harsh communications.

Mark Lusky

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