What happened to customer service?

By // April 27, 2011 // Posted in WPPI News

What happened to customer service? It’s one of my biggest pet peeves these days. I’m not sure what’s happening out there and what caused it—from grumpy flight attendants, annoyed waitstaff, waking up on the wrong side of the bed bank tellers, or photographers that just don’t care anymore.

After I graduated from high school, I worked as a stock-room manager for the Town Square Department at Nordstroms. Everyday I walked through those doors I had “The Customer Is Always Right” beaten into my brian. At every corner, there was a sign about customer service and how to treat them. Looking back it was probably the best training I could have ever had growing up. No matter what the problem, you always had a smile on your face and tried to make sure the customer was taken care of, one way or another.

At WPPI, we have always prided ourselves on being very customer-service oriented. Look, I’ll be the first one to admit we’ve made mistakes in the past, like the long lines we had two years ago for speakers or the chaos at registration when we were at Bally’s years ago. We listened and we made changes, always with a smile. Well, it was a smile then and a lot of cocktails later. Either way, we tried to make it work for people. I’ve always said, if we make a mistake, we’ll make good on it and then some. Are we perfect? By no means do we always make everyone happy, but we’ll bend over backwards to make sure we fix the problem. Sometimes that doesn’t always work, but if you don’t have a good attitude from the start, you’re going to end up ruining the customer relationship and risk never seeing them again.

In this day and age, If you do something with a smile and try to make your clients happy any way you can, you’ve won half the battle. So the next time you’ve got an upset client, kill them with kindness. If that doesn’t work, rinse and repeat. And if you still can’t make them happy, then smile and move on, at least you can sleep at night knowing you’ve done your best.

George Varanakis
Executive Vice President
WPPI/Rangefinder/After Capture

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Jacqueline Tobin

Jacqueline Tobin

Jacqueline Tobin is the Editor-in-Chief of Rangefinder magazine and the author of Wedding Photography Unveiled: Inspiration and Insight From 20 Top Photographers (Amphoto Books, 2009); and The Luminous Portrait (Amphoto Books, 2012). The second-generation native New Yorker cherishes her Sunday mornings hunkered down with The New York Times, fresh bagels and a great cup of coffee.

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