A Culture of Customer Service

Over the years I’ve done a bunch of Customer Service Training. I don’t do much anymore because the “new” methods for providing customer service seem to have more to do with profitability and less to do with service. 

I realize this is crazily old school thinking but I still believe the surest way to profitability is to provide your customers with outstanding service. It’s not a one or the other kinda thing. It’s more than a little disappointing how many people and companies disagree with me. 

Today Customer Service “experts” talk about CX Hubs, creating customer experiences, deflecting customers from expensive technical help by shifting them over to a bot or some chat thing. 

There’s actually some research that shows the Gen Z demographic would prefer to not speak with a human when accessing customer support. But not all of them and even if it were their purchasing power does not yet match that of Millennials, Gen X and Boomers. 

Most people want to talk to someone who gives a damn about helping them. 

But sadly there’s a lot more money to be made by talking about creating customer experiences and CX than there is to be made by teaching the basic skills needed to truly help a customer and make them feel valued. 

My biggest problem with most Customer Service training is that the best customer service doesn’t come from a series of actions, responses, or policies. It comes from creating a culture of caring for customers. Not only from the Customer Service Department but from every department. When I call a company for help I don’t care what department the person who answers the phone works in. I expect everyone working there to give a damn about me and every single customer. 

There are no “tricks” to helping customers. There is just help. That help doesn’t come from a policy, it comes from a deeply held conviction that helping customers is the right thing to do. It’s always always always the right thing to do. 

A culture of caring for customers can only be “taught” by modeling it. It must be coached and demonstrated on a daily basis. 

If Customer Service isn’t everyone’s responsibility then sooner or later your customer will get the feeling that it’s nobody’s responsibility. If your organization treats Customer Service as an expense rather than an investment your customers will quickly pick up on that mindset too.

Customers by and large are good people. They don’t want to be a bother so when they feel as if they are bothering you they will stop…stop bothering and stop buying. 

How does your business treat customers…like an expense or an investment? Think about that.

3 thoughts on “A Culture of Customer Service

  1. Yes to this: “Most people want to talk to someone who gives a damn about helping them…” and not a recording or a menu with choices that take you to another menu. And not this, “We’re experiencing a higher than usual call volume….” and you are either put on hold or asked to press 1 for a call back hours later if at all. The gold standard is a real person answering the phone who can either get you to the right department, answer your question, or take down the information and guarantee it will be sent or given to the source who can solve your issue and that you will hear back within 24 hours.

    1. Absolutely Gary, companies need to put the shine back on that gold standard. Expectations have gotten so low that the companies that SHOW they care about customers will have a greater competitive advantage than ever before. Investing in caring for customers is one of the best investments a company can make.

  2. Thank you for providing us not only with a culture to live by but extraordinary customer service. I’m most thankful that Rick Olsen suggested I follow Steve Keating.

    Sent from my iPhone

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