Teaching children about customer service (and life)

I had wanted to do a lesson with my children about customer service for a few weeks now. I had planned on doing it, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. (We homeschool.) Well, an opportunity arose recently, because–yes–I got a 1-star review for my app, The Observant Mom App. The negative review was due to a misunderstanding of what the app does. The app covers child developmental stages from 18 months to 5 years of age, as described in the description. The review said data wasn’t showing for their newborn. Which it never will. What better way to teach my children about customer service than to do it as something live, right then and there, presented itself?

The main thing I wanted to teach my children is to always respond to the emotion first. When I am dealing with a customer, this is always the first step: address the emotion. This is as simple as saying, “I am sorry this happened to you.” Then, give information. “The app covers from 18 months to 5 years.” Then give a suggested next course of action, if applicable. It’s been a winning recipe for some time now.

This is what I wanted to show my children: even if we are wildly upset with someone over a factual error, still address the emotion first. My children indeed had THOUGHTS about their mother getting a poor review due to a misunderstanding on someone else’s part. So, I do what I do, which is I exaggerated the situation, showing right versus wrong clearly. I said, “You know, deep down I kind of want to scream. That’s what I am thinking. But this is how to deal with it,” as I showed them the steps to go through. It’s a lesson about customer service for an app, but it has wide application elsewhere: maybe when selling a home, when dealing a grumpy customer at a summer job, maybe even when dealing with a friend.

I also, equally as importantly, wanted them to think about what it looks like if they were to complain or criticize something. When we open our mouths to criticize something, it might seem like we are making the other person look bad, but we also reveal ourselves. Does it look good on you to negatively review a product when it was your error? It’s something to think about before we do that. Have we gathered all information possible? Have we tried solving the problem ourselves?

Finally, I wanted my daughter especially to see that her mother had a bad review. My daughter loves to hear about all of my positive reviews. She goes on and on about how The Observant Mom might “blow up” someday and “everyone will love you.” She also has clear entrepreneurial goals, and I want to help guide her in that. I wanted her to see: no, not everyone “loves” me, there are stumbling blocks along the way–and it’s ok. We deal with it and move on. It need not deter us totally. I also explained to my children to always, always respond to public reviews like this. They told me I should, “just ignore it!” I told them I can’t: this makes my product look bad. However, in responding, now people know what happened. If someone were to see the app, they might go look at the negative reviews. And in responding, now they know what actually happened. And, in fact, if they have a newborn child, they’ll doubly know that the app is not for them. In the end, the review won’t hurt me. And, in the end, these kinds of reviews usually don’t, because the person, once being made aware of what happened, usually changes their review. UPDATE: And the review was changed. It was taken down and then updated to a 4-star review.

These are all lessons I personally had to learn. This is the kind of emotional intelligence that helps you keep going forward in a career or business: the kind you need when bad things happen. It can make the difference between failure and success. I had the opportunity to do it with my app, but maybe you would have the opportunity in some other situation. I am a big fan of teaching things as they come up in life.

And, by the way, The Observant Mom App is available! It is available on Apple and Android. It’s the same information as on the website, just in calendar form. And, indeed, it currently covers from ages 18 months to 5 years. And if you like my work and maybe even like the app, I would be ever so grateful for your positive review!

Amber documents the age-related stages go through. She believes children’s Misbehavior is Growth and negative reviews can be growth opportunities, too. Send your friends and family to The Observant Mom.

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