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Front Page - Friday, October 11, 2013

< 6 Degrees

To serve or not to serve?

First of all, that is not the question. 

It’s become painfully obvious to me that customer service in general has taken a back seat to an implied sense of efficiency. This could quickly become a public forum for your testimonies. Think about it: How many times have you left an interaction only to say “Did that just happen?” 

In a day and age when technology and immediate gratification take precedence over quality and service, maybe we should do a little introspection. What are our expectations going into the transaction? Too high? Too low? Why do we have certain expectations for others but not of ourselves? Is it because we are bombarded with advertising suggesting it’s a given you should be treated like royalty at (insert your own business). While most advertising campaigns and company mission statements proclaim customer service to be a top priority, few deliver. Why?

A few reasons come to the forefront - employee training,  retention, and recognition. “But that’s only in corporate America, Craig. Small businesses don’t operate like that!” Think again. Every employee - who by the way is a son, daughter, husband, or wife when they’re not working - wants to be trained, promoted, and valued. It’s only human that we want to be appreciated. If the employee doesn’t feel they’re an important part of the team’s success, that’s transferred to your customers and their experience.

I can think of a few companies that do get it right time after time. Chick-Fil-A and Southwest Air consistently rank highest in customer satisfaction polls. They both understand the value of customer service, but before their employees ever see the sales floor or a ticket line, they are trained and engulfed with the companies vision and asked to be a part of the team. “It’s my pleasure!” And you know what? I believe them.

So, to serve or not to serve?

The answer is always going to be “to serve.” We were designed for service.

BNI - Business Networking International has a simple mantra written by its founder, Dr. Ivan Misner: By giving business to others, you will get business in return. This is predicated on the age-old idea of “What goes around, comes around.”

To me the greatest reference in relation to service is found in the bestselling book of all time, and it’s simply referred to as the “Golden Rule.” Let’s try more of that.   

Craig Miller is the Founder & Director of B2B Networking Chattanooga, for more information go to: www.b2bnetworkingchattanooga.com or contact him at info@b2bnetworkingchattanooga.com