Having been in the customer service industry for over 30 years, you’d think I’d have it all figured out by now. But a call this week reminded me that there is always something to learn—that customers can still teach us something. A conversation with a young woman put into perspective why we, at GiftCards.com, do what we do.
When she called, she was livid. In response, I did what I always do. I listened. I listened as she vented her frustrations and expressed her anger. I figured once she finished, we could begin the process of addressing the problem. Due to a technical issue, the card she had ordered did not process or ship out on time. I wanted to make the situation right. But something happened while she was venting. I heard more than words. I felt the feelings behind her words.
She had ordered a gift card for Father’s Day and it did not get delivered. But why had she waited so long after Father’s Day to call?
The young woman explained that she hasn’t had a relationship with her father in several years and that they hadn’t spoken at all during that time. She had reached a point in her life where she missed the relationship with her dad and wanted it back.
The gift card ordered wasn’t a simple gift—it was a bridge back to her father. She wanted to reach out, not only to say Happy Father’s Day, but also to let him know that she wanted to repair their relationship. Her card didn’t arrive. The message she was trying to send didn’t arrive. Her father had no idea that she’d even tried.
This young woman reminded me why we do what we do. At GiftCards.com, we sell prepaid gift cards. Our motto is “make ‘em smile : ) .” We strive to make people smile in everything we do. From the products we sell to our gift cards Facebook posts, advertising, and even inter-office correspondence, we look to leave a smile on someone’s face when the transaction is complete. This motto applies especially to customer service.
After my conversation with this customer, I realized more fully that we don’t just provide prepaid gift cards. We provide expressions of gratitude, love, respect, remembrance, and more. These aren’t just prepaid gift cards that people send because gift cards are convenient and allow recipients to buy whatever it is they want, the cards are sometimes expressions of our deepest emotions to those we care about the most.
In addition to sending the gift card, I was able to reach out to the young woman’s father and make the situation right. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this and hope both were smiling when our conversations ended. I like to think the two of them are now catching up on lost time and opportunity.
Through this experience, I learned a lesson I will never forget. As customer service professionals, we are tasked with helping people. We should never take that lightly. Sometimes the problem we’re involved in, however, is far bigger than the issue being reported. We can only do so much, but in listening we may discover an opportunity to make life better for someone and, at the very least, make ‘em smile : )