Customer Service.

call bell     Ding…Ding, Ding, Ding.   Ah, could I get some help………please?

Let’s face it; everyone tosses “service” around with about as much integrity as a politician.  Sadly, it’s evolved to a meaningless generic….but the reality is; when delivered with integrity, it still carries weight.

While at a trade show several years back, a supplier was extolling their new commitment to “service”.   “You can find whatever you want on the website, and when you need pricing it’s completely available in download format.”  Unless you meant self-service, that’s not service.  

Likewise, I absolutely LOVE it (sarcasm) when I call somewhere, get the auto answer “system” that spends the first 2 minutes attempting me to go to their web page.  This is “service” (?)

Uhm, my view of “service” is directly linked to doing something for someone else.  And here are some examples of what happens in the real world; and what could/should happen…

My definition of “service” is linked to anticipation and empathy.   It lathers me (just a bit) when a supplier “service specialist” sends an email “the item ordered is not currently available”.   OK, so now what?  Maybe just a smidgen of info and helpfulness like “but we’ll have it available early next month” or “if you care to substitute, we have navy instead of the black”.   Instead of communicating solutions, they create a problem–and then move on to let you dangle.   Sound familiar?

Another real example; a little bit better.    I received this email: “the L-401 is not available, but the L-415 could be substituted”.  That’s great; what the heck is a L-415?   With just the most minimal of effort (and empathy), that person could have included either an image of the L-415, a direct hyperlink…or maybe both?  THAT would have been service; take the extra common sense step.  People are either too busy, too self absorbed or just ill-equipped in training to actually provide “service”.  It requires an attitude beyond the hurried, untrained path of lease resistance…

Final example of service evolution is closer to home.  Our client had an event and my support staff knew we needed to forward the tracking #’s for various items….but specifically, we did not send 5-6 separate  emails…but just one, COMPREHENSIVE email with ALL the tracking #’s and a subject line titled “Complete Event Tracking # Info; from Badger Promotions”.   Instead of pecking through multiple emails with Lord knows what subject line originally used; it’s one simple, easy-to-access source.  Done.  That qualifies as “service”…and while I’ve never been told, I know that when the pre-event tasks go wild/crazy; they appreciate having the info in one spot and at their disposal.

Next time you speak about “service”; don’t do yourself a “disservice”.   Make sure your integrity is legit and shines through of truly going the extra mile for someone.  Think about what THEY need & want.   You Matter….and so do “the little things” in our lives.   A little “service” goes a long way; and makes you feel good, fulfilled as well.  It’s the Golden Rule.

One final revealing note on “service”…. it’s a game changer.  The tracking example above was for a client over 1000 miles away on the west coast.  I’ve had the honor of serving them for over a decade…and never met them (acquired via referral).  They have local options, but value the team orientation and real value-added service provided.  Competitive advantage; and yes, it makes ME feel good to be appreciated and valued.   Legit service is not just “lip service”; but a genuine competitive advantage (that fewer and fewer want to understand.  (instead “let’s make an app for that”).

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