Dr. House’s So-Crazy-It-Just-Might-Work Guide to Customer Service
House makes for some great television. It’s one of my favorite shows ever, in fact. Something just keeps drawing me back, despite the repetitive format, sour attitude, and ridiculous storylines.
However, don’t confuse the entertainment aspect of House with the real world. When it comes to reality, Dr. Gregory House, M.D. would definitely not be working in a hospital. He’d most likely be unemployable, in jail, in rehab or any combination of those.
Let’s face it, Dr. House doesn’t exactly have people skills. If you consider his patients to be his customers, then he has one of the worst customer service track records of all time. But behind the one-liners that make for good TV, there underlies helpful customer service tips. You have to dig deep to find them, though! This so-crazy-it-just-might-work customer service guide will help you locate House’s pearls of wisdom.
Here are 3 things we can learn about customer service from everyone’s favorite cynical TV doctor:
- Everybody Lies – This is the over-arching theme of Dr. House’s philosophy, but there’s a hint of truth here. Most customers aren’t hiding a drug habit, but they do forget things. It’s also possible that they’ll give you incomplete information if they’ve made a mistake or simply because they aren’t experts in the field you are assisting them with. Therefore, it’s up to you to parse the truth from the information they do give! Guilty until proven innocent isn’t always the way to go and people won’t always lie to you, but don’t be afraid to dig deep and ask questions if that will help you crack a case.
- Keep Your Distance – House doesn’t like to get to know (or even meet) his patients. He feels that his lack of attachment gives him the objectivity he needs to do his job. While that’s an extreme example, it’s important to have the CORRECT LEVEL of objectivity so that you can treat your customers fairly at all times. If you’re too close to them, then they could possibly try to take advantage of you. If you’re too distant, then they’ll most likely leave for greener pastures. You don’t have to keep everyone at arm’s length, as Dr. House does, but you should find a balance that works for both you and your customers.
- Make Your Own Rules – If House was a real doctor, he’d have lost his medical license in, oh, about five minutes. He’ll willingly break any rule to save a patient, no matter how insane it seems. Although that’s a noble effort, you simply cannot break every rule and hope to keep your job, let alone your customers. However, sometimes you do have to go the extra mile and think outside the box for creative solutions to your customers’ problems. Every so often it’s okay to bend the rules if they’re at all flexible. Sometimes the ideas may meet resistance, but it’ll be worth it when you solve a problem no one else can. Just don’t induce any heart attacks (leave that to the crazy TV doctor, please).
Absurdity is fun to watch on TV, even if it makes for a terrible business model. But if you can spot the core truths behind the zaniness of House, then you can use the valuable information you’ll find there. I had never thought that Dr. House could be reasonable, but there is a method to his madness! Decipher his searing one-liners and sarcasm and you could actually learn something from this infamous character.
What else does Dr. House teach us about customer service? How can we learn from his successes and/or mistakes?