Stories and thoughts about family and life

Customer Service

on January 18, 2015

As I sat in the office of a new client over this past week, I’ve thought a lot about service and how we come across to our clients.  I’ve said a lot lately to friends that customer service is a dying art.  So many companies don’t care about what they’re doing and how it comes across.    As we approach another company birthday, and as I’ve worked this week to unravel much of what this client has been through, I’m reminded of the things I did when I first got started.

I had been a manager at my previous job for a number of years and I loved my job, for the most part.  I found myself doing unpleasant things and I didn’t like where that was all headed.  People who work for you often-times don’t understand the motivation of directives you must issue, and I discovered pretty quickly that compassion wasn’t something I should expect from employees.  When I started my company, I spent some time writing on a board on the things I would like to have or accomplish in my company.   I included everything from what services I hoped to offer (and I’m pleased to say we’ve far exceeded that, with the exception of one), to what benefits I wanted to have for employees, to what kind of policies I wanted to have on full disclosure.    We haven’t always done everything right, but we’ve always tried to do right by people, and I’m proud of that.

The specific issues the client was having weren’t important, but the response she was receiving is.  They had invested a significant sum of money into setting up what they felt would be the perfect solution for their environment.  As we discovered this week, the “service” of the vendor provided consisted of workers in silos and no one knowing enough about anything outside their own specific piece to provide much help.  As well, my client was a small client for this vendor, so not a lot of effort was being spent on their needs.  When I got involved, the vendor was caught a little off-guard.  You see, my client wasn’t well-versed in the lingo and the steps the vendor needed to take.   This was not the fault of my client, although she was perfectly willing to take the blame, and that saddened me. What world are we in that a client can spend such a significant amount of money with a company and that company takes no ownership in providing good service?  The vendor was surprised to have been met with my brand of tenacity.

Unfortunately, it’s the reality of the workplace now.  We were able to make some changes, and after working diligently on the details got everything back on the right track again.  One of my vendors stepped up and helped with our issues and was able to solve in eight short hours what hadn’t been accomplished in over a month with the previous vendor.   I needed that message this week to help remind me that some of us work hard to do the right thing.   I sent an update e-mail to our staff this week and began receiving responses from everyone.  I was overwhelmed by the responses of “we’re all on the team” and “we’ll work it all out” after my indicating that we would have extra work to do for the next few weeks.  This team consistently goes above and beyond for our clients and it reminds me of those things I wrote on the board in the beginning.    It also reminds me that we all set our own standards, and we certainly don’t have to follow the standard the big companies embody.

I hope you’re able to experience that in your work life too.


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