And my passion for customer service is off the hook. People have described me as passionate. I think they are trying to say I’m a little over emotional, spastic and sometimes a little annoying . . . .that’s okay. I’ve lived with me for a long time now and I get me. It’s this “passion” that helps me get through the day.
I was a high school teacher. We met with local businesses to hear that our kiddos were just not cutting it out there in the big bad world of work. Biggest complaints included lazy, no clue about customer service, lack of work ethic, not timely, blah, blah, blah. . . . . I say “blah” because they ranted and raved about how awful these kids were and I was with them every day. They weren’t awful. They weren’t lazy, their work ethic, for the most part, was exceptional for people between the ages of 14-18 and customer service skills????? I would scratch my head. How would they get these in high school? We teach skills like speaking, mathematical computation, group dynamics, writing, reading, ect. ect. Customer Service???? Is that something schools should teach? I didn’t think so at the time. As I was a high school teacher.
Fastforward. I escaped teaching because I could not take the adults. I miss the kids every day. Now I work in the private sector. I own two companies (thinking about number 3.) Both companies DEMAND EXCEPTIONAL customer service. While creating company 1: Adventure Auto Glass, Dave and I discussed how we wanted the company to look during out creation of our mission statement. See, I’m a teacher. I sat him down at the kitchen table and made “us” come up with a mission statement and objectives. I’m glad I did. We have a great mission statement. Guess what it revolves around without us even realizing it? CUSTOMER SERVICE.
WE PROVIDE EDUCATION AND SERVICE AUTOMOTIVE NEEDS OF VALUED CUSTOMERS. PAYING ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND TREATING EACH VEHICLE AS IF IT WERE OUR OWN.
We work very hard to live up to that mission every single day. We do a good job. How do we know? Read our reviews. I am not cool enough to have over 100 friends. We pay a third party service to take our reviews so that we cannot manipulate them. We have to accept them ALL regardless of what the customer says so that YOU know what you are getting before you buy. That is another part of customer service that is largely ignored by many companies.
A woman came into Adventure the other day and was there while I took a call. When I got off the call her mouth had dropped open. I asked if she was okay – she said, “That was the best example of customer service I have ever seen.” I smiled and thanked her.
How do you create amazing customer service? I will tell you a secret. It’s not that hard. Treat people well. When you answer the phone, they are the only thing that exists at that moment and you need to think about how you can make their life better in that moment. LISTEN. Most people, especially when they are upset, need someone, ANYONE to listen. It’s not about YOU. It’s about THEM. Listen to them whether they are right or wrong. It doesn’t matter. It’s about hearing them, allowing them to be heard and helping if you can. It’s the human condition my friends. It’s not rocket science.
So now, many moons later I think about what those business people were saying. I don’t think they understood about how profound they actually were at telling us how those kids lacked in mad skills. I don’t think they understood that maybe hard skills like being polite, on time and respectful come from family and school but the softer skills, like customer service can be learned on the job. Maybe, as an educator, I should have offered courses on HOW to TEACH customer service skills TO employers instead of my students. Maybe I should offer a class at our Chamber so that THEY can take on some of the responsibility to understand what they need from beginning employees.
Feel free to check out our reviews. We earned them. We get customer service.
Another hint? Of course: Smile when you answer the phone. I’ve been trying to improve in this area myself and yes, it matters.