Tears and Laughter: Why customer service matters…no matter where you are

Is there a grant we can apply for to get some customer service training offered in Wilcox County? The kind taught over a course of days about how to deal with customers and how the approach has to be one of service.

This means that the representative needs to be polite and have a tone of understanding towards people who are dissatisfied with the service they have received. Again, by definition alone, this is customer service. And not to repeat myself, but Wilcox County – Camden, specifically – could benefit from acquiring a few of these tools. Like the one that teaches how it is better to calm and help decompress customers who are frustrated with the unsatisfactory service they have received rather than to incite it further with attitude.

I don’t think the courthouse offers this particular opportunity to their employees yet. I’m pretty sure it is not a requirement. Others have noticed it too. When anybody new moves to the county, one of the first questions they get asked is, “Have you been to the courthouse yet!?”

My latest issue involves a car tag. And…maybe if all you are doing is renewing an existing tag, you will get out okay. But if you have recently bought a car and had to have had it transferred into your name, when you go back to renew this tag, things frequently go horribly wrong. And I’m not jumping to conclusions. I’m looking at a pattern of operation over a 20-year timespan.

All I know is that I handed the woman behind the counter a tag receipt issued from behind this same counter back in June, when we bought our daughter a Camry…and I came home with a tag for a Cavalier.

So as a customer, I guess this was my fault. I was renewing several tags. I should have taken the time to read each of them. I look at tag receipts once a year, when I take them out to renew them. It is absolutely bananas for me to think that someone whose job description is to handle tag receipts on a daily basis should have been more aware.

The mistake is one thing. Mistakes happen. I’m good at making them. There is no shame in an honest mistake. But when I called – twice – to inquire as to how this could have happened, two women in two different offices used the same ploy. They acted dumb, and when I wouldn’t accept ignorance, they copped attitudes.

One told me she could not find Justin Walker in the computer. I told her flip it around and try Walker Justin, but to rest assured he was there. They tax him for every penny he has ever invested in the place.

Wilcox County is beautiful. We’ve got the river, and deer, and quilts, and plenty of churches. There are boards and committees and individuals who are committed to making Wilcox County a better place to live and who work very hard to try and lure industry and businesses here to help ease the burden of high unemployment. But they can bend over backwards and offer a smorgasbord of promises, until we achieve a better grade of customer service at our core, people will not relocate here. They may accept ineptness. They may even be willing to make two trips to the courthouse just to renew a car tag. But they will not tolerate a snide attitude. They will politely go elsewhere. It is why customer service matters.

Amanda Walker is a columnist with The West Al. Watchman, Al.com, The Thomasville Times, and The Wilcox Progressive Era – https://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist.

The above is a column from guest contributor Amanda Walker. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of The West Alabama Watchman.