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Everything I Know About Customer Support I Learned From “The Dude”

In his role as Sr. Director, Client Services, Jason Ferguson ensures that our clients’ customers receive sterling support. As it happens, Jason gleaned much of his knowledge about the customer-service world from a sage cinematic mentor.

At ModSquad, we do a little bit of everything: customer support, community management, forum moderation, social media management, quality assurance testing, translation, streaming video moderation, chat moderation, and much, much more. One of our popular services is our customer support offering, and for good reason. We’ve stacked our team with CS pros like Stephen Dunne and Renee Odunaiya. Of course, there’s another heavy hitter that I look to when it comes to customer support: Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski.

If you’ve never seen the film The Big Lebowski, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. I strongly recommend you go out and watch it right away because everything (well, almost everything) I know about customer support I learned from The Big Lebowski. Don’t believe me? Read on to discover the nuggets of wisdom you can obtain from The Dude, ably played in the film by Jeff Bridges. 

Warning: The following contains minor spoilers for The Big Lebowski for those unfortunate readers who have not yet seen it.

Be patient. If there’s anything The Dude excels at, it’s chilling out. If your customers need to vent, let them vent. Don’t rush to a solution before listening to and understanding their problem. Solving an issue quickly doesn’t do you any good if you don’t solve it correctly.

Keep your cool. The Dude has a totally zany life. His best friend has a hot temper and will go crazy over a bowling disagreement. He has to tolerate his eccentric bowling rival, Jesus Quintana. And he’s being stalked by nihilists. Despite all the chaos, The Dude doesn’t let it get to him. Instead, he stays calm. Your customers aren’t always going to be happy, no matter how hard you try. Sometimes they’ll be heated and they may even hang up on you. Those interactions may not be made up of rainbows and sunshine, but CS pros learn to keep their cool in these hostile situations.

Get creative. Go above and beyond to find creative solutions for your customers. Not every problem has a straightforward solution. In the words of The Dude, there may be “a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous.” One way to exceed customer expectations is the “surprise and delight” method, where you use your creativity to make the customer’s day. Use your powers for good and make some magic happen.

De-escalate. As someone who is surrounded by a wacky cast of characters, The Dude knows how to calm things down and settle a complicated situation. Do your best to learn the same skills. Stay levelheaded and help your customer resolve their problem. Before you know it, they’ll calm down as well. Things will be chill all around.

Investigate. The Dude is searching high and low to find the whereabouts of Bunny Lebowski, and his adventure takes him all over Los Angeles county. Through a combination of investigation and dumb luck, The Dude is able to solve the mystery by the film’s end. Similarly, in customer support, you’ll often be faced with problems that need a little extra investigation. Don’t jump to conclusions. Ask the right questions and use the tools you have available to troubleshoot and solve the customer’s needs.

Take breaks. Solving problem after problem and helping customers deal with taxing issues can be a lot. It’s important to take a break to clear your head and recharge. Of course, when it comes to relaxing, The Dude is among the best of the best.

Know yourself. Know who you are and what your limits are. When does a complicated case need to be escalated to the next level? Is this issue something new that you haven’t dealt with before? Don’t be afraid to speak up, ask for help, and follow your documented escalation procedures.

Whether you’re handling a general customer question or dealing with a critical complaint, look to the wisdom of The Dude. Just make sure not to use any cuss words!

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Talk Back

Posted on May 4, 2021

Good job Jason!!

Get On Your Soapbox