Customer service is a seed of trust that you plant into the lives of other people. The fruit of that seed — or in other words — the rewards for being a servant and providing good customer service, are protection, provision and promotion. We discussed each of these biblical promises in the last installment.

The question is how to speed up the reception of those rewards? We are in dire economic times, and I can see how there is a desire to get these rewards sooner. If you don’t, you could be out of business before the rewards come to fruition. So how do you get the fruit faster?

Instant success is only possible after you’ve done everything right for a long time. A farmer looks like he made a bundle of money when he sells his crops, and at that point, it does look like “instant” success. But he did a lot of work prior to that point that was essential to that big payoff. Had he skimped over any one step, the crop would have been a failure.

So I’d like to give my own personal recommendations on how to speed things up.

Choose The Right People To Serve

First, plant your seed in the right soil.

I think this is a mistake that most companies make. They pick the wrong customers to invest their time and there efforts. In other words, they are serving the wrong people.

Yes… You do pick your customers.

Most companies are so hard up for customers, that they’ll take anyone that walks through the door. It takes incredible intestinal fortitude to tell customers that you were not assigned to serve them. You are not here on the earth to serve everyone. God placed you here to serve a specific person or a group of people. As the apostle Paul said:

For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ” ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” Acts 13:47 (NIV)

Paul himself points out that he wasn’t here for the Jews; that was Peter’s assignment. He was here to serve the gentiles.

The implications of this for me are significant. If you serve the wrong people, you’ll soon sense that something is not right. You’ll resent the people you’re trying to serve. That is the key indicator to me when someone is not supposed to be a customer of mine.

Remember, there must be a reward for volunteering as a servant. Servanthood is a two-way street; the other person whom you’re serving must provide their part too. If the person you’re serving does not provide any of the three rewards (protection, provision, and promotion), then it is the wrong person to serve.

I have many people that want me to serve them, but they are greedy and demand more benefits than other people that I serve. “Give me a greater discount” is a common phrase I hear. When they say something like that, I immediately know that they are not one of my prospects. I try to gently tell them that they’ll find what they are looking for at a competitors business.

I won’t lie to you. It does feel like I’m cutting my own wrist when I say that. But I know I’ll end up resenting them as a customer if I do take them on and invest my time and effort of service into their life. They are not the soil that I feel compelled to sow into.

It doesn’t matter who you are, but if you resent your customer, the level of service you pour into that person will be second-rate. And that is not good enough for maximizing profits. You must be first-rate.

Water and Fertilize The Customer Relationship

Now that you have the seed of trust planted in the right soil, it is time to water and fertilize it.

The chief fertilizer is “empathy.” Your customer wants to know that you care about them. Well, duh! We all know that. And this too is biblical.

If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:41-42 (NIV)

But if you want to speed up the process of turning customer service into quicker rewards, it is more than just caring about the customer.

The customer must sense that you care about him, MORE than you care about the next guy.

This is true of everyone that you serve. And the desire for super-special treatment is even greater from customers that have the power and capability to provide in abundance the rewards of protection, provision, and promotion.

Therefore, even after you’ve narrowed down the number of people you’re serving, there are still some customers that are more valuable to you than others.

This is hard to grasp, because we all want to think we are fair, and we want to treat everyone equal. But to the super-achiever customer standing in front of you, they want to feel EXTRA special. They want perks that you don’t give to everyone else.

These people know that they have extra power to move you forward toward your goals. But they won’t unleash it for you unless you recognize they have this power. You have to dig down deeper to make them feel superior.

For example, you can be the personal assistant to a local barber, or you can be the personal assistant to Donald Trump. Which person has the capability to move you forward faster? And which person has a higher desire for special treatment?

These are the people that will accelerate your progress and speed up the rewards of good service. They are in agricultural terms, the genetically modified super plants. They are the plants that grow bigger and can be harvested for their fruits earlier in the season.

But they require and demand higher amounts of fertilizer, water, and sunshine. If you don’t give it to them, then they are just ordinary plants that give off the same yield as everything else in your garden.

Probably twenty percent of your customers are producing eighty percent of your profits. These are your genetic super-plants that you have to provide extra care for.

I have to tell you that it is not easy.

Not only is it hard to be a servant, it is even harder to be a servant for high-maintenance customers.

What About Your Company’s Employees?

And hiring staff to work for you that have this same “servant attitude” is an order of magnitude even more difficult.

But here is a technique that I learned from the persuasion course that can start you and your staff moving in the right direction: “Your actions will drive your behavior, and your behavior will change your habits.”

You’ve probably heard that before. But here is some practical steps you can take. First, dress for success. The clothes you wear will affect your attitude. Get your staff to dress up too.

Second, change your titles for you and your staff. I don’t call my staff “customer service representatives.” They are “customer care.”

Everyone is a "Cast Member"

That subtle change in nomenclature is significant. I actually got the idea a long time ago from the Disney company. They call their employees “cast members.” Even the janitors are called cast members.

I really like that concept. Why? Because it allows you to exchange your natural persona for a different one when you are at work. I can be pretty grumpy at home, but when I get to work, I remember that I’m a cast member in a show. Just flip the switch, and I’m on stage being a great performer.

And after all, customers want an experience; or a show. So give it to them. Ham it up; you really don’t have anything to lose.

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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