Everyone is a customer service provider: CEO, IT programmer, production supervisor, HR specialist, waitress, fast food clerk, cook, lawyer, engineer, airline attendant, hotel clerk, bus driver, pastor, cashier, receptionist, sales rep, district manager, parking lot attendant, bartender, government employee, factory worker,  new employee, veteran employee and so on. This is the marketplace’s golden rule-no exceptions!  As soon as a company or organization begins to think they are an exception, customer service suffers. As soon as an employee believes he or she isn’t into customer service, the customer suffers.  Your understanding of what this means begins in your perception of your job. This is a customer service challenge for all a company’s employees.  You become your own prophetic voice in how well you or your co-workers will help customers. Your prophecy predicts your fate and that of your company.

Imagine a world without customer service. You wake up in the middle of the night because it’s cold in your house. There is no heat. You grab you cell phone to call the energy company and the phone lines don’t work. Both companies cut power to save money. There is no one to which you can call and complain.

Or, let’s say you go to grocery store, grab a cart and start walking down the aisles. You find some of the shelves have food and some don’t. You look for help and finally find a store employee sitting on a bench having a smoke. You say, “Can you help me?” The person responds by saying, “What makes you so special.”

On your way home you stop to get gas. It’s a self-help station, of course. As you are dispensing gas, the mechanism doesn’t quit when you try to stop and gas begins spilling all over the ground. You run into the station for help and the store clerk begins yelling at you and says she is going to call the police. You have to pay extra to leave.

Later, you stop at a restaurant for dinner. The hostess eyes you suspiciously, and says, “You better pay your bill. Now seat yourself.” You order something to drink and eat. When you drink arrives to not what ordered. The waitress never comes back and you have to wave down another one. She tells you to hang on. A few minutes later a man comes over your table and lays your overcooked dinner on the table and says, “No more complaints from you. Eat you meal, pay for it and get out. If there is any trouble, (He pulls out gun.) I will hurt you.” Then he walks away.

Unimaginable?  Without customer service customers are victims. Without customer service customers would revolt. Why spend money in places described above. It would be stupid. Companies that gave such service would soon be ridiculed by the media,  sued by customers and governments and shut down by the authorities.

The term customer service implies a level of support to customers who spend money. All jobs require customer service at three levels:

  1. Product: it needs to perform as advertised and promised
  2. Price: needs to be honored as advertised and promised
  3. People: employees need to respond to customers in respectful and courteous manner

If the product or price is in question, the people-employees or customer service representatives- need to take care of the issue. If the customer needs help in selecting the product or products the people need to respond in support ways. A company today without good customer service is dead eventually. Employees who can’t deliver customer service are expendable. The better a company services customers the better it does. The better an employee serves customers the greater the chances for more pay and promotion. This is the prophecy for the future of companies and employees.  Notice the following research that outlines the benefits of the best customer service:

Businesses that have poorer ratings in customer service, over three years:

  • Charge prices 98% of the competitors
  • Lose 2% market share
  • Lose 1% profitability on sales
  • 8% average growth rates

Businesses that better ratings in customer service, over three years:

  • Charge prices 107% of the competitors
  • Gain 6% market share
  • 12% profitability on sales
  • 17% average growth rates

What does this mean for you? How serious are you about your career? There are approximately 157 million employees in the US and 3.5 billion in the world. Customer service is required in all of the jobs. Some jobs require a focus on one of the above areas, for example delivering the product:

  • Aircraft mechanic
  • Technical illustrator
  • Pipefitter
  • Web developer
  • Construction worker
  • Janitor

These jobs may have little involvement or direct contact with the public or customers. But the quality of their work affects a company’s customer service to the customer. Poor quality means more complaints and less customer loyalty. Excellent quality means fewer complaints and greater customer loyalty. The car lines of Lincoln, Lexus and Toyota have set the standards here.

Other employee jobs and roles deal with the public and provide direct customer service all of the time, for example:

  • Airline stewardess or steward
  • Retail clerk
  • Receptionist
  • Waitress or Waiter
  • Teacher
  • Manager

Poor or crabby customer service drives people away. Friendly, courteous and helpful service keeps customers coming back. Southwest Airlines has a stellar service reputation in the airline industry. Wegmans grocery chain and Nordstroms set the standards based on customer surveys in the retail arena.

In reality there are two roles all jobs fit into. The first role involves working directly with the external customer on the phone, online or in person. The second role means you support the people working in the first role to some degree.   People in this second role often forget the impact they can have on the paying customer. Their customer is the “internal customer” or their fellow employee on the frontline. Teamwork is essential to successful customer service from any company. Think about it. If you are an account manager with a company always treat other managers or employees with disdain for their financial reporting errors, you are contributing to a poorer working atmosphere. This will lead to poorer customer service to the external customer. If you are a manager and treat employees like second class citizens, the employees will be dissatisfied at work and this will lead to poorer customer service.

Your understanding of the importance of customer service and role is crucial to your success as an employee. It doesn’t matter if you are the President or management trainee or inventory stockroom clerk. Your results directly contribute to your company’s reputation and success every day winning and keeping customers.

To be a superstar customer service person you will do job with care treating the external and internal customer with dignity respect and courtesy. You will also do a quality job in terms of the technical aspects of your job (data entry, correctness, completeness, quality etc). Superstars excel in all aspects of what they do. If they don’t know how to do something they learn and ask for help. Or, they learn it on their own. Over time they consistently outperform everyone else. It’s also prophetic of success or failure. Superstars receive more compliments from customers, better job performance reviews and have more career advancement opportunities. Most make more money than their co-workers in similar jobs, too. They are confident and feel good about what they are doing. That’s what you want too isn’t it? Plus, they know in their heart they are doing the right thing.

Do you want to improve your customer service skills? If so check out our book: http://wcwpublishing.com/wcw-programs/performance-improvement-books/superstar-customer-service-book/#

Or, do you want to help your company improve their customer experience and loyalty? Check out this EBook: http://wcwpublishing.com/wcw-programs/e-books-leadership-improvement-downloadables/designing-a-superstar-experience/#