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Chipping Away Into The Modern Electronic Age

, , , | Right | October 11, 2022

Back in the early 2000s, I had a summer job as a service representative for a phone tech company. Specifically, the company sold and serviced ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) telephones. My job was to fix phones that had been sent in, and if I couldn’t fix them, just take one that had already been fixed down from the shelves and send that out instead.

A man called the repair shop, having been searching desperately for someone who could fix an issue with his phone. Apparently, he had been given the run-around by all the salespeople who sold him this thing, making him more and more desperate for actual assistance.

At this time (in July), most people were on vacation, so it was even harder to find anyone who could help. There I was, a temp in my teens, alone in a repair shop, taking his call.

As he explained his problem to me, though, it did sound like a fairly simple fix; the issue he was experiencing should be fixed with a software update. The way to do that was to open up the phone, extract one chip from the circuit board, and put in a new pre-programmed one. I wasn’t quite sure about the next step, though, seeing as he lived in a city an hour’s drive away.

Me: “Would you like to send me the phone? Or maybe I can send you the chip you need if you’re able to fix it yourself?”

Customer: “No, I’ll be right down!” *Click*

Sure enough, an hour later, a car pulled up on the industrial estate. I went out to greet him and let him in (even though there was no customer reception area, just a warehouse). Once I got hold of his phone, I fixed his issue in about two minutes. It was as I thought: just open it up, extract the chip with a special tool, insert a new chip that we had ready on the shelves, test the phone, and screw it back together.

Customer: “How much do I owe you?”

Me: “Oh, nothing. That was so simple; I couldn’t charge anything for that. Plus, you drove all the way down here.”

The man insisted and left me some cash anyway. He then departed, ecstatic that he’d finally found someone who’d been able to help.

I learned a lot about customer service in that job — to be polite, helpful, and patient. Whether the customer is an ignoramus, unlucky, or just plain desperate, there’s always some way to help them. When you’re in the service sector, that’s the job.

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