What the Customer Service Industry Can Learn from the NFL

It seems like this NFL season I’m seeing more and more ridiculous calls by referees. I’m not sure if they think it’s their duty to call every single minor infraction but I say let the players play! Yes, the referees are there to penalize players such as Ndamukong Suh who deliberately stomped on Evan Dietrich-Smith during the Thanksgiving Day match-up of the Packers and Lions, but the pass interference call on Brandon McDonald of the Detroit Lions after Rodgers‘ underthrown touchdown pass was a little much.

There are plays like this every single NFL game—questionable ones that make fans, coaches and players alike think “did that cost us the game”?

Similar instances happen in the customer service industry; not “pass interference” calls or getting ejected from a game but something a little similar.  

Customer service is a give-and-take industry with an emphasis on the “give” on the agents’ end.  I believe the saying “the customer is always right” is slightly inaccurate.  From a customer point of view it’s wonderful, but from a business point of view, I believe it can be a little excessive. Sometimes you need to stand up for yourself and your business.

Just like NFL referees should do, customer service professionals need to pick which calls they’re going to argue/stand up for. Everyone wants to watch a fair football game where good calls are made, but also a game where the players can continue a game without a flag interruption every few plays. The same goes for those working in customer service.  You always want to listen to your customer, especially if they’re adamant that they’re correct on an issue but if the customer is incredibly incorrect, explain why.

There’s always going to be a fine line that needs to be walked carefully in the customer service industry because you’re all about making sure the customer is happy.

You need to walk the fine line so that the customer is as happy as possible but don’t let them get away with stomping all over you. Then again, don’t be so strict whereas you lose the “game” or lose them as a customer because of it. Find your balance.

How do you balance the line? Or is the customer right even when they’re wrong?



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