Working in Customer Service and Operations for the majority of my career this mantra has been something that I have very much tried to live my life by. I have not taken it to extremes by looking at businesses providing me with shoddy service and abraiding them for their lack of service, but have always tried to go the extra mile for my customers not only to earn their loyalty and repeat business, but simply because it just seemed to make sense to me!
“The customer is always right”
Harry Gordon Selfridge (1909) – founder of Selfridge’s department store
“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”
Now I do not want to minimize this in any way, there have been many instances where providing that extra level of service has been extremely difficult and I am proud to say that in more than one instance I have turned a potentially Irate and Desperate customer into a raving fan, simply by going that extra mile. Providing useful and relevant information to a client experiencing problems during the course of the issue has helped me more than once and sometimes calling back even if you do not have a new update means they know that you have not forgotten about them. Unfortunately there are many instances where the customer is not right and dealing with these situations is a lot more difficult.
Customer Service – It impacts your staff
When customers abuse your staff it is simply wrong. There is never a justification for this and while you can tell your employees not to take it personally and that they are not mad at them, but rather the company, being called names and made to feel belittled is absolutely unjustifiable. Your employees are really the key resource in your company. It is not the what you manufacture, the service you sell or the product you maintain that actually defines your company, but rather the people that make those things and maintain them for you. They are your true salespeople and your best resource.
When customer service impacts employee morale, your employees need to come first – while it might be difficult and costly to obtain a new customer, it is often significantly more costly to find and train a new employee. In addition, by siding with the customer to the detriment of your staff, you impact your whole internal culture which has a knock on effect in many other ways.
It impacts your ability to help other customers
Isaac Asimov a great Science Fiction writer created what are now known as the three laws of robotics which are as follows:
- A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.