Sunday, May 16, 2010

Customer service is about YOU not your title!

I recently asked folks on one of my customer service workshops to tell us some exceptional examples of customer service. Not ‘good’ not ‘great’ but exceptional. I got the usual stories of Hotels, Restaurants and Holidays but one delegate came up with a classic that I just love for so many reasons.

It seems she was at home alone minding her own business and just at the time the dustcart arrived for the fortnightly bin collection she froze solid through fear when she saw “a massive spider” in her kitchen. Being absolutely petrified of spiders her natural reaction was to scream loudly.

One of the binmen burst in through the kitchen door pretty well convinced someone was being murdered. When he saw the problem … Wait for it …. Nope he didn’t laugh. He calmly removed the offending spider. She was so relieved and she said he will always be her ‘customer service hero’.

Moral of the story – It matters not one iota what your job title says – exceptional customer service is simply about you as a person.

Will you go the extra mile for a customer today?


Mark JF said...

It's a nice story but I don't think it's really about customer service. To me, it's a great example of good citenzship, manners and courtesy - values that are too often overlooked today. I'd bet, though, that it's people with this sort of attitude who are the best ambassadors for their company - whatever position they occupy.

BTW: we didn't manage to win Europe but at least we're domestic champions. Again. Well done, Barca!

Trevor Gay said...

Cheers Mark – you are right it is definitely about good citizenship BUT the woman thought of it as customer service as well and just think of the image she now has of the binmen! It must have done the reputation of thelocal council immense good. Customer service is in the eye of the beholder – if she thinks its customer care then its customer care!

Well done Barca – delighted they beat the Real Madrid’s pretenders to the title – well done – they are without doubt a brilliant team and Messi is an awesome player. Almost as good as Carlton Palmer :- )

Steve F said...

On a different note but sort of similar: saw a screen saver many years ago: "Everyone is in marketing."

Trevor Gay said...

Cheers Steve - very good quote thanks - hope you are keeping well Sir!

J.KANNAN said...

Dear Trevor,
I absolutely agree with you and left to me I would like to put it this way...........

My beloved customers.................

We can't spell "S(U)CCESS" without "U"(You) and that's how I look at customers.

And if you don't take care of your customers.......somebody else will.


J,D. Meier said...

Sometimes removing spiders just comes with the job ;)

Trevor Gay said...

JK - Love it - thanks again for your words of wisdom.

Trevor Gay said...

JD - good to see you here. I guess it's covered in that last line on all Job Decriptions: "Other duties that may be required" :-)

Richard Lipscombe said...

A big issue in the workplace today is that many workers are not engaged with, energized by, nor committed to their work/workplace.

Equally,managers are not empowered to become leaders so they over manage: they obsess over process, risk, words, obscure details, past rather than future, and manage upwards. The lack of urgency (see John P Kotter's latest book) is endemic.

So I guess the poor old customer has to learn to love spiders or simply learn to deal with them on their lonesome. Metaphorically speaking, spiders are everywhere within modern commerce:customers are the new workforce as they self-serve and deal with a lot of unexpected glitches within the business process they are paying good money for. This is all part of the new world of work.

You want good, reliable, consistent customer service? Provide it for yourself!

Trevor Gay said...

“YOU must be the change YOU wish to see in the word” according to Mahatma Gandhi

Hi Richard - the world of work bears no resemblance to the world of work I joined at 16 years of age. In those days things were predictable and rational. Customers took what they were given as passive recipients.

It’s great that things have changed for the better but we still have a long way to go to reach a world of work where customers and front line employees are truly loved by managers and leaders who cling to the past of command and control - concentrating ONLY on the rational, the objective, the numbers and the bottom line.

If we REALLY want customer and front line focus then managers need to devote time getting in touch with their own sensitivity. Use stories; use metaphors; LISTEN to your front liners and your customers; get out of your office; get on to the front line to listen; give your employees 'a good listening to'

This stuff is so simple it’s laughable that we still get it so wrong so often.

hucknjim said...


Something happened recently that earned me a pat on the back,a "that was really nice John", and a GEM card (Going the Extra Mile) which after accumulating a certain number can be redeemed at my hospital for a free meal, t-shirt, gift cards, etc. A nice elderly lady came to the nurses station asking where she could get a cup of coffee. I escorted her to a comfortable chair close to the coffee machine, poured the coffee, and asked if she would like cream or sugar. To me it was just common courtesy born of the good manners my mother taught me, but I have to say that I was both surprised and gratified to receive the GEM card.

In short, common courtesy may be seen as something extra not only by the customer but also by your coworkers and friends.


Trevor Gay said...

Hi John - that’s a great story which illustrates the point of customer service perfectly.

‘Going the extra mile’ is not hard work if you are of the right mindset - you clearly do have the right mindset. Customers perceive ‘the extra mile’ as making it special for them. ‘Small things’ are quite often actually ‘big things’ for customers – well done again.

Trem papers said...

Real success comes in small portions day by day. You need to take pleasure in life's daily little treasures. It is the most important thing in measuring success.