The Customer is King!!

 “The service we render others is the rent we pay for our room on earth.”  Wilfred Grenfell

Last evening I saw a standup comic go through his customer service routine. He was very funny and had the audience of about 200 people roaring with laughter. But I found myself thinking of his basic premise as being very different from my research and experience.

He said that, by definition, a customer needs something (I would add, or wants something). And that anyone who needs something is vulnerable. Therefore, customers are vulnerable and you (the business or organization) need to treat them with care because of this vulnerability.

Yes, customers may need or want something; but in this day and age, that makes them anything but vulnerable. (Unless you are the only one selling water in the desert.) Customers are actually empowered: they have the power to give or take business from you; to give you a piece of their mind; to go somewhere else for what they want; to bargain for prices; to cost you business with a careless comment; and other forms of customer power.

So, as I see it, the element of customer service is more about surviving in business than it is about acting out of the goodness of your heart for the “vulnerable” customer. Although the paradox is that sincerity and genuine care are critical for the best customer service.

This boils down to identifying customer needs; providing solutions; keeping the focus on the customer; dealing with complaints and bad moods without taking things personally, and most of all – not taking yourself so seriously.

~ Source: Dr. T. Elaine Gagné

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