Service Quality is Part of the Job

Great Southern Lad had an interesting post about his poor experience with retail customer service in London. I loved his "first rule of customer service." The interesting thing is that his expectations are fairly low – just a hint of courtesy and friendliness is what he expects. Then he reports a common response he hears from people: "they aren’t paid to be courteous."

I disagree. When you are hired into a customer service position, whether it’s a retail clerk or a call center CSR, you are paid to provide service according to your employer’s standards (hopefully, the employer is listening to customers in setting that standard). You are (people always hate when I use this term – but it’s accurate) a customer servant. If you can’t or aren’t willing to provide that level of service you should find a job that doesn’t require human interaction.

Flickr photo courtesy of yobfountain

  4 comments for “Service Quality is Part of the Job

  1. August 1, 2006 at 3:15 am

    I’d have to agree with you, Tom! Customer service is part of our job, and that it shouldn’t be treated as just an added value or an accessory, which you use only when you feel like it. Oh well, I wonder when companies will really walk the talk.

  2. August 1, 2006 at 8:27 am

    Hi Tom, been reading your blog for a couple of months now. It’s great. Apart from being frustrated often by things like this, I’m also setting up a business here in Spain so thinking about all these types of things comes in very handy. You should come and advise some Spaniards customer service! It’s generally very very bad.

  3. August 1, 2006 at 11:38 am

    when you begin to look at your own world and scope and perspective…every job is a service job. i always say that about being an artist. it’s a service profession.
    AND, i’m also stupified (stupefied? no spell check in the comments section here!) at the low level of customer service in many of the stores, hotels, etc i go to when i’m on the road. i’ve become even MORE aware of it thanks to bloggers like you!
    I did an experiment with a friend when I was performing in Atlanta. We went into Nordstroms together and shopped. I told him to watch the level of customer service. I said, “THIS is why I love Nordstroms.” He was somewhat impressed, but still wasn’t all that convinced it made a difference. Then we went into Macy’s and walked right up to a customer service desk with no line. The woman behind the counter was on the phone, continued talking, didn’t even acknowledge our presence for about 3 minutes…which is when we left. My friend got it.
    It makes all the difference in the world to me now. Thanks for the post! (and for letting me ramble on in your comments!)

  4. August 2, 2006 at 8:46 pm

    Gosh! Sorry to be so slow in responding. It’s been a crazy week!
    Meikah – thanks for stopping by. I’m glad to say that I work with some great companies who are walking the talk. If only there were more of them!
    Matthew, welcome to the conversation! Thanks for commenting. Good luck to you with your business in Spain. I’d love to hear more about it (I’d also love to come work with some companies there! Wouldn’t that be mucho bueno!?). Don’t be a stranger!
    Christine – welcome back, and thanks for a terrific story. You can ramble on my blog any time you want. I always appreciate your perspective. (I’m still hoping that my wife and I can catch your show when you’re in Iowa in September.)

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