Serving

There's an old adage that goes “the customer is always right!”

...until they're not and then, dear support rep, it's your fault for not helping them see the fault of their ways at the point of purchase.

Customer Service is tricky business!

Most people's first job is going to be either some form of grunt labor or working for minimum wage in retail or food services. Mine was guest services at Bedrock City, a Flintstones themed park, in Kelowna, Canada. The goal for most people is to get out of there before becoming a permanent fixture. People don't want to spend their life serving others.

Why? What's wrong with serving others?

The word service itself has it's issues. We use it to talk about servants for the relatively wealthy and we use it talk about the public servants which run our countries. In both cases, whether we feel they're an accurate way of describing what really happens, the idea is that service is about uplifting or supporting a person or group of people to achieve more. What if anyone in customer service took this belief about their role?

Imagine coffee shops where the barista is there to do more than simply make your coffee or someone in a clothing shop actually striving to help you find the best possible clothing for you. Imagine if this was done with pride and not from a place of being in a lesser important role. What if the relationship became symbiotic rather than some remnant of an aristocratic society? What if the service industry became a skilled industry and people trained to become the greatest servants they could become? Not to serve the more important but rather to help their equals thrive because they had the best support in every situation.

As I think about the teams I've helped build and some of the amazing companies I've worked with, the greatest moments have been when we cared more about those our company was serving than about our own success. Incidentally, these were the moments when our company seemed to be the most successful as well. Success seems to happen most when you're focused less on it and more on what you originally set out to do.