I am declaring February as Customer Service Awareness Month
Written by Robert D. Sollars
No, it’s not been designated by any official government agency or group. Nor has it been formally officially recognized month, but maybe it should be. I am simply calling it this for one simple reason. I am going to post many of my thoughts about customer service this month. And shamelessly plug my book while doing it, Unconventional Customer Service: How to Break the Rules to Provide Unparalleled Service!
Exceptional Customer service is something that virtually every single company believes that it has, but is virtually non-existent. And of course, theirs is better than anyone else’s. I’ll tell you straight out it taints so! Most companies are so mired in their own quicksand and bureaucratic toilet to service the customer for the customers’ benefit.
Some have absolutely no clue about what it is. Some used to have it, but have been so corporatized that they have lost it. And unfortunately, they have no idea how to get it back. And just as unfortunate are the companies who never had it in the first place but still insist theirs is the best.
I hope that this month’s posts unless interrupted by other more pressing issues of a security nature will provide some insight on customer service, at least as I see and believe it should be delivered. Of course, you already know my propensity of not following conventional wisdom, so it should be no surprise that I don’t follow much CW in providing quality customer service either.
Let me first say that customers are not always right. There are many times when the customer is wrong. Whether that is in their way of thinking or their attitude is usually known only to them, but they can be wrong, and they should be told so, no matter the cost to you and the business. But how can the customer ever be wrong when the fundamental line that has been embraced by businesses for decades is that Rule #1 is the customer is always right & Rule #2 if the customer is wrong refer to rule #1.
In my nearly 41 years in the security field, I’ve run into many clients and companies that were just out and out wrong in both their attitude and thinking. I do have to say though, railing against what I thought was wrong with their philosophies… got me plenty of attention and helped me get known. Some were good and some eh…not so much.
Wells Fargo kept an abusive District Manager/Vice President around because he was extremely successful in growing the company. To the clients I had at Allied Security, they insisted on things that were against the law. They eventually made the Branch Management invent answers and excuses that made it legal because I refused to. It was fortunate that it stayed hidden, or they would not have been in business to merge with Barton or Universal years later.
ABM Security liked to make questionable ethical decisions, according to their ethical standards which were… shall I say questionable as well? Their decisions and standards are the reason I only stayed a month. And on and on it goes for my entire security career. They all purported to have customer service skills but in reality…
Not saying that I was ever perfect in conducting business for them, I was fired for reasons not concerning security or customer service. However, I have seen many things that were underhanded, unethical, immoral, and sometimes illegal. Those were the reason I left most of my jobs or got fired for not following the ‘official corporate/branch line’.
With all the self-taught book learnin and life experience I’ve accumulated on customer service in various industries, I put together this series of posts, as a teaser to encourage the purchasing, of my book, Unconventional Customer Service: How-to Break the Rules to Provide Unparalleled Service, that was released in November 2018. The principles I propose are still right as far as I’m concerned.
Here is a partial list of the table of contents. In no particular order;
- Value added service
- Perceived value
- Varying levels of customer service
- The groups of people you didn’t realize were your customers
- Getting rid of your sacred cows
- Nanoseconds of interaction
- Getting the job done – right
- The customer service Clock
I hope you will read my thoughts and posts, and then buy the book. Then I hope you will evaluate your service and that of your company to find out if you’re doing the things you need to do and servicing your customers so they brag about you instead of complaining to everyone and their brother about your service…just not telling you until it’s too late.
“Do it your own way and don’t worry what others say or do”
“Fresh, new, innovative ideas are frequently shoved aside until they are ready”
Robert D. Sollars
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