By April 19, 2012 Read More →

Home workers – the human touch?

Home workers can provide what the corporates can’t

Home workers - the human touchYesterday I had some satisfying exchanges on Twitter with home workers as fed up as me with the stock phrases assistants are now trained to throw at us in shops.

It was provoked by my trip to Asda and my habitual irritation at the ‘Thank you for waiting’ at the checkout. Every time this happens I go into the same infuriating internal dialogue – ‘Do I have a choice?…Don’t be so miserable, it’s not her fault…I refuse to say “That’s OK” because it’s not OK, if customers are waiting they should open more tills…Don’t be mean, it’s not her fault’.

David Wike said he had been thanked for waiting in M&S when he hadn’t been waiting at all! And I now dread going into Lloyds TSB, because they’ve stopped trying to sell me insurance or book me an appointment with the manager, only to start asking ‘Is there anything else I can help you with?’ when it’s perfectly clear I’m tucking everything away into my bag in order to leave. Completely redundant phrase and obviously only used because that’s what management says they must do.

Which has got me thinking…I’ve always felt that one of the challenges for home workers is that we don’t have a protective corporate shield. We can’t blame the system, say that’s not our department, refer a problem to someone else or have a good moan about a customer to a colleague.

People who go out to work can use home as a sanctuary, where they close the door on anything unpleasant that’s happened during the day. Home workers can feel very vulnerable because problems and disagreements come directly into the place where you are at your most relaxed and open. Learning to deal with that can be one of the most difficult bits for new home workers, in my opinion.

But now comes the good bit – perhaps as home workers we can supply the humanity that often seems to be so lacking in transactions with big organisations. We can make our clients feel valued as well as provide a good service – and charge a premium for it!

Is there anything else I can help you with?

6 Comments on "Home workers – the human touch?"

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  1. Yvie says:

    I completely agree with everything you said in the your post!

    It’s happening everywhere – even on calls to insurance companies and webhosting sites and it does infuriate me too although I try keep at the back of my mind that the person I am speaking to is only doing what they’ve been told to do.

    Customer service is so important but you’re right – it should be natural and sincere and there is a huge opportunity there for home-based businesses to capitalize on.

    Thanks for sharing that hilarious video. It has made my day and I can’t stop humming the tune!

  2. Judy says:

    Thanks, Yvie, as you say, a big opportunity for home-based business.
    It’s a great video, isn’t it? Probably hasn’t done his career any harm either!

  3. It’s not the phrases that get me, it’s when they are delivered because the person is required to. Like cleaning the loos. Or not paying attention so it’s said when doesn’t apply. On the other hand, you also have the management training part of this. You can do the right thing and tell employees, ‘say thank you for waiting’ when they have been waiting. However, the conveyor belt nature of a lot of these jobs with endless strange faces means it’s inevitable phrases will be parroted. Is it better having a stock phrase than no acknowledgement at all? Thinking back a few years, yes it is, even if annoying.

    As an aside, one of the reasons I love Yorkshire Building Society is because they have real live human beings with personalities at the end of the phone, ones who are lovely to talk to and fix things quickly. It’s so soothing.

  4. Judy says:

    Thanks for the tip about Yorkshire Building Society, Rosie, it’s always such a relief and unexpected pleasure when you deal with a real human being!

  5. data quality says:

    Working from home rocks and I like the way your site makes me feel part of a bigger community Judy. I work in marketing from my spare room and dealing with lists, emails and worrying about data quality all day makes me feel less than human at times.

  6. Judy says:

    Yippee, that’s exactly what it’s meant to do, Emma 🙂 Thanks, you’ve made my day!