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Customer Service is an attitude not just a skill

Exceptional Customer Service is the key ingredient in standing out in a crowded, fast paced marketplace. Having great products or services is what allows us to step up to the starting line. If we want to run a great race, giving our customers the experience they want and deserve is essential.

So what is “Exceptional Customer Service” and how do we provide it?

If we pull the phrase apart and extract the meaning of each word, we can then link them together and gain a better understanding of what we are working to achieve.

The word “Exceptional” means “forming an exception or rare instance; unusual; extraordinary”. This definition, put in the context of our business, suggests an opportunity to stand out in the day of our customers, to set us apart from the ordinary and what they are used to. This alone will give us the edge over our competitors when jockeying for position and marketshare.

“Customer”, also called client, buyer, or purchaser, is usually used to refer to a current or potential buyer or user of the products of an individual or organization. This is typically through purchasing or renting goods or services. However, in certain contexts, the term customer also includes by extension anyone who uses or experiences the services of another. A customer may also be a viewer of the product or service that is being sold despite deciding to not buy them.
The word derives from “custom,” meaning “habit”; a customer was someone who frequented a particular shop, who made it a habit to purchase goods of the sort the shop sold there rather than elsewhere, and with whom the shopkeeper had to maintain a relationship to keep his or her “custom,” meaning expected purchases in the future.
The slogans “the customer is king” or “the customer is always right” indicate the importance of customers to businesses – although the last expression is sometimes used ironically. The customer may not always be right but they will always be the customer.

Although I have forgotten most of my High School English, we can see that we have had an adjective followed by a noun and now there is only one thing missing; a verb or “doing word”. The word “Service” can be used as a noun or a verb. In providing customer service I believe it is best described by the latter! Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation, before, during and after the sale.

To provide Service we must take on the role of a servant. (I know; you are even more impressed now by my grasp of the English language) This key truth is why I believe Customer Service is an attitude, not just a skill.

Servanthood represents an attitude of the heart. One must possess a heart for service and a heart for others. However, the attitude of one who serves is only half of the picture – his/her actions complete the cycle. There must be a desire on the part of the servant to seek ways to meet the needs of another. Historically, the concept of servanthood has generated negative implications. Being taken advantage of, physical abuse, and low self esteem were the typical characteristics of servanthood. There are many in society today who still retain these negative images in their thinking. The prospect of being served is far more attractive than being a servant. If the whole truth were told, one must admit there is a feeling of unmistakable satisfaction in having someone willing to meet your needs and satisfy your desires.
Servanthood is also often associated with weakness and inferior social status. This inaccurate assessment must be rendered null and void. The process of removing the negative stigma of servanthood begins with a change in thinking. Step two in removing these negative vibes involves putting this new perspective on servanthood into practice in our everyday lives.

As we open for business each day, if we take on the attitude by “serving” our customers we are adding value to them, and the community at large, we will have no trouble at all employing the skills required to “get the sale”.

Have a great week. You deserve it!


Grant Herbert

The People Builder

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