“You must lick my feet and neigh like a horse”, she demanded.

Before I get on to the horse bit, I want to talk about bacon.

Poor old bacon.

It gets a bad wrap.

Whether for religious or health reasons, we’re warned off it.

In fact, after watching the video below showing an example of recent KFC customer service in my home country of Australia, I’m now pretty sure there’s a chance it could kill you – and that’s not because of the cholesterol.

Watch the video – only 30 seconds – and then you’ll know what I’m talking about…

Our rights as Customer Service Providers.

Terrible jokes aside, this video raises our customer service provider rights as human beings when we’re serving the public. Customer service in Healthcare can be a thankless task at times.

Of course, how this KFC customer service employee reacted was wrong. Colonel Sanders would be rolling in his potato and gravy grave by now. I’m in no way condoning his behaviour.

But…

Personal opinion is (like many incensed people on You Tube commenting on the video) the woman filming provoked the KFC customer service worker simply through her request of bacon. She must have known it was a Halal KFC.

So what was her motivation? Why, when knowing the limitations of a customer service provider’s products, did she request something she knew would cause offense, and, in this case, wild rage of a young, and obviously religiously passionate employee?

It isn’t the first time a customer will piss a customer service employee off to no return. And it won’t be the last I’m sure.

Relating this example to customer service in healthcare, I’m sure all of us have had our fair share of unfair treatment from disgruntled patients – or simply patients wanting to take the mickey out of us for whatever sick joy it gives them. (Maybe that’s their true illness?)

As customer service professionals, how do we deal with this?

Well. It all comes done to quality training.

The importance of basic Customer Service Training and my fond memories of leaning against the chip fryer dreaming of my five star customer service future.

You might be surprised to know I used to work for KFC in my teenage years. Back in the days where the boys wore all white clothes and big white gum boots in the hot kitchens out the back and the girls wore the brown dresses with the red stripes and tie/scarf thingies around their necks.

Don’t laugh.

I cut my customer service teeth at KFC. I still fondly remember the customer service training video about why not to squeeze your zits in your lunch break and then return, hands unwashed, to complete the 7-10-7 chicken-rolling method.

In fact, it’s where I got all my basic grounding for customer service. True. I still have my “All Star Employee” badge. A proud day that was.

But there is one philosophy I learnt from Colonel Sanders that I question to this day.

That the “customer is always right”. I am soooooo over that mantra.

Because, to refer back to my headline….

What if they say “you must lick my feet until I neigh like a horse?”

Would you do it?

How would you react to such a request – especially if your world view and belief systems told you that you must never make anyone neigh like a horse?

I don’t mind licking feet, but, well, others might. (Hope my wife isn’ t reading this.)

Seriously though, without getting into a debate (religious or otherwise) about what transpired in that KFC shop in Sydney, how do we deal with unfair and difficult requests from our customers?

I’d love to hear some examples. I’m sure there are some beauties out there.

How did you deal with them without losing your cool like the customer service dude in this video?

Remember: The customer may always be right, but only when they are respecting you, your world view and your rights as a human being.

Cheers – and don’t forget to share below some of the curly situations you’ve had to deal with as a Healthcare industry service provider.

Grant Muddle

The Healthcare Warrior

Serious Title. Serious Mission. Seriously:)

P.S. The New Year has started with a bang and I’m still trying to keep up with everything. I’ll be posting another customer service training module soon that you can download for free. Make sure you share it with your friends. 2011 will be the year that customer service in the healthcare industry will raise to a new level. I can feel it in my Warrior bones.

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