Is your customer service like a horror story“Customer service”. You might as well say: “horror stories.” Just mention those two words, and your mind starts imagining all kinds of terrible experiences in the past. Isn’t that right? Don’t you remember how you were treated at that restaurant you visited last week? It probably wasn’t that they were exactly rude, but it was a bit nonchalant, wasn’t it? You felt you were a number to them, or maybe like you were a part on an assembly line; just stick you in the right spot, and give you a turn or two; and then they move on to the next person.

It is really strange, but if you ask any company how good they treat their customers, they’ll all tell you they have the best service in their industry. How can everyone have the best? What are these people comparing themselves to?

Why is there such a disconnect between what customers think of the service, and what the company believes that they are delivering? People on the receiving end feel the service is terrible, and companies on the giving end think that they are providing the best.

Those are the types of questions that I think about all the time. I bet that if you are still reading this article, you are thinking the about the same things.

Customer service is such a broad topic. But if you’ve done any research on the internet, you’d think that all it was about was “smile training.” You know… teach your staff to smile and act friendly , say ‘yes ma’am/yes sir’, and to agree with everything the customer says. That is all well and good, but that is what your competitor is doing too. And he has terrible service. So how is yours any better? Really, if his is bad, and he’s doing the same thing you are, what makes you think yours is significantly better?

Be Very Concerned About Customer Service

You ought to be worried about customer service in your company. It is critical to maximizing the profits of the company. It is deathly important. You’ve heard the statistics about how much more money you have to spend to acquire a new customer with advertising as compared to selling an existing customer a second time. The difference is taken right out of profits, which is the worst place to take money from. You can easily go broke because you’re not getting repeat business, and having customers tell other potential customers to stay away from you because you treat them like dirt.

To understand what it takes to provide good customer service, you really need to define what customer service is, and more importantly, why you do it.

Sounds like simple questions with simple answers, doesn’t it. Someone on Wikipedia defined it as:

“the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. From awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy. It can also be used to mean an individual experience over one transaction.”

In simple terms: they describe customer service as an “experience.”

And this is why so many companies fail to live up to their customer’s definition of customer service.

Why? Customer service is more than an “experience.”

Customer Service Is Not Just An Experience

Ponder on this concept. If it was just an experience, the customers are thinking of one type, and the company is thinking of a different one. No two minds are alike, so how can they both think of the same thing and come to an agreement?

No wonder why there is a disconnect.

The second part of the question is: “why do it?” What is the purpose of customer service?

You’re probably thinking something like “because is you didn’t provide good customer service, you’d quickly lose your customers and you’d go broke.”

That’s not a bad place to start. But I’d like to add a little bit more to that, so we can get some ideas of how to use customer service to maximize our profits.

What Is Service?

But, let’s back up even further. What does the word “service” mean?

There are many definitions, but the one that hits home for me is: provision of assistance. In other words to be a provider of assistance.

The title of the person providing assistance? That’s easy. A “servant.”

Yikes… You know where this is leading, don’t you?

Customer service is all about voluntarily lowering yourself to a level of “servant,” and providing assistance to another person.

In today’s society, nobody likes to be a servant. That has a lot of negative connotations to it, doesn’t it? The servant is the low person in the hierarchy of things. Crap flows downhill, and it usually lands on the person that is at the bottom. So if you are a servant, you’ll be on the receiving end of that load of crap. Right?

Have You Ever Seen A Company With A “Customer Servant” Department?

There are no “customer servant” departments in any corporation. I’ve never seen any, have you? Can you imagine the number of applicants you’d have lining up to work in that department? Right… none.

Because of negative connotations with the word servant, companies hire “customer representatives.” When I think of the word “representative,” I think of a broker, or an agent, or a congressman. All these people drive nice cars, and they are considered a specialist in their field. Specialists, by their very nature, want to be treated – well – “special.” They don’t want to be a servant.

Do you want to be a servant? I know this is a web site about using the bible as a guide for business, so you’re probably primed to say something spiritual like “sure, I’ll be a servant.” But let’s get real. Being a servant all the time wears on your psyche. You feel like the doormat of the world, instead of the child of the King of the universe.

So that I why I asked the question: “why do it?”

If you can’t answer that question where it makes sense to the point where you “want” to do it and become someone else’s servant, the I can guarantee that your level of dedication is going to be half-hearted. Your customers will quickly see this, and they’ll brand your company as providing poor customer service.

Do you get that?

Half-hearted servants provide half-hearted service.

Next time: What are the advantages and rewards of being a lowly servant? How is it a part of making money, God’s way?

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 (NIV)

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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3 Responses to “Customer Service and Maximizing Profits”

  1. […] are the same. Basically, as you’ve seen in the previous articles that I’ve written (Customer Service Rewards, and Customer Service For Speedy Profits), there are three big rewards for being a servant, and […]

  2. Hi Tim,

    What an excellent post. I nearly fell off the couch laughing at the all too true comparison of “Customer Service” to “Horror Stories.” Very few every really say “Thank you” or address me with honorifics like “Sir” or “Ma’am.” How delightful when they do!

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    Dating After 40 Expert

  3. Austin says:

    Without serving, there is no service.