It’s NOT about Customer Service it’s about “Customer Servantship”.

We hear all the time “Its all about customer service!” What does that mean?

So here are my thoughts!

  • I asked, “What is customer service?” of a number of folks and guess what? They all said something different.
  • We also had lots of conversation about who is a customer! Well the news is everybody is your customer!
  • It seemed they were all talking about outcomes and worse were quoting from company scripts!
  • Customer Service has become an “Industry” and includes anything from big job titles to huge departments in organizations.
  • Yes! they have whole departments for this stuff. What happened to “Get it right first time? “
  • The people you speak to work off scripts and often have no authority to go outside set boundaries and then start espousing company rules. That’s Blah!
  • It’s not about “customer service recovery”. That’s too late!
  • It’s not about gimmicky slogans like “Customer is King” or “Customer First” or “Make sure your customer has a great day” – overused and who are these signs to remind? - You got it! Just words that flow unconsciously and easily out of too many sales assistants and now passé’.
  • So it’s not about “clever words” or processes.

This is what it’s about!

  • Breathe into the hearts and minds the philosophy of “serving”.
  • Use the qualities of servant leadership.
  • In order to be a “customer” servant leader, you need the following qualities: listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, growth and building a community. (*)
  • Acquiring these qualities tend to give a person authority versus power. Now that’s what I am talking about! How would you FEEL if you had that kind of attention given to you…GOOSEBUMPS.

  • The difference is simple: The customers’ highest priority needs are being served, and they are given the “whole experience”
  • A great test is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?

  • This it seems is the ultimate! The likelihood of your customers recommending your business to everyone they know! That’s the community!

  • So its about the human touch and soul and mind coming together.

  • None of us need “gimmicks” to help us serve our loved ones, so put this into place with your customers and note the difference.
  • It is about putting the “servantship” of customers above all else and thinking of the customer all the time and they are first.
  • It’s a total mindset and philosophy about “serving” not giving service and there is a huge difference in this.

(*)(From the teachings of Robert K. Greenleaf)

The foundational concepts are found in Greenleaf’s first three major essays, The Servant as Leader, The Institution as Servant, and Trustees as Servants.

Views: 85

Comment by Hung Lee on August 30, 2010 at 11:21am
Great post Peter. The key is authenticity - customers need to be trust that they are being treated with respect and value, and will resent the rote learned, scripted customer service as the manipulation it undoubtedly is. Certainly, there is a requirement for a philosophical shift; I would add that there is a compelling argument for a linguistic shift also. Words like 'Servant' and terms like 'Customer Service' imply a hierarchy of relations, built-in before it even has a chance to take form, and I wonder whether there are better terms out there to describe engagement based on mutual respect. After all, when we go and purchase a product or service, isn't that what are all really looking for?
Comment by Peter Lanc on August 30, 2010 at 1:50pm
Thanks Hung Lee. I agree with the terminology thoughts. I wonder what other views we will get!
Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 31, 2010 at 3:00pm
Customer Relations perhaps or client services would seem a bit more nuanced.
Comment by Peter Lanc on September 1, 2010 at 5:54am
Thanks Sandra, I wonder why we need any such department on the basis that if we deliver great customer experience the first time around we would not need follow up. Like the "olden" days in Quality. Inspectors abounded. Today there are no such folks as quality was built into the product. Why not use the same philosophy with our customers?
Comment by Sandra McCartt on September 1, 2010 at 11:38am
technology my friend is why we have to have somebody to fix what technology screws up. Ever try to get a mistake on any kind of bill corrected. In the olden days a person had to make a mistake for there to be one. Now it's technology that screws things up so a person has to fix it..Maybe.

No i don't want to do away with technology and go back to the Olden days. So maybe we should refer to all those folks who have to correct computer mess ups as "Glitch Fixers" instead of customer service.
Comment by Peter Lanc on September 2, 2010 at 7:55am
Thanks sandra, Its less about technology and all about culture and the values we imbue into our employees. Machines do not replace people and is it not aweful when you get passed around the world via automated telephone systems?


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