The Stuff Of Valuable Customer Service

trustLosing Stuff

I hate losing stuff.  Hate it!

A friend of mine recently lent us the original Star Wars trilogy.  It was magnificent!  The other night I returned the DVDs to him and thanked him.  Later that evening he texted me and asked where The Empire Strikes Back was. [insert sinking feeling]  In a house with five people, it could have walked (or crawled) anywhere, and after 48 hours, it’s still missing.

Borrowing Stuff

Growing up, we often borrowed things from friends when it came time for vacation– whether it was an RV or a cabin in the mountains.  I can remember a couple times where my parents spent money tuning up the RV before we used it.  At the end of a stay in a friend’s cabin, we would spend several hours cleaning and improving the place.

Returning and Replacing Stuff

There’s a very simple lesson here that my parents instilled in me and I’m doing the same for my kids.  That lesson is this:

When someone entrusts you with something of theirs, return it to them in as good or better condition than when they lent it to you.

This lesson was taught to me repeatedly as a child until I got it.  When another person entrusts you with something, they are trusting you to take care of it.  I guess that’s why the follow up from mom was always “You break it, you buy it.”  When it comes to The Empire Strikes Back, that may very well be the next step.

Customer Service Stuff

As a business, customers are regularly entrusting us with their time and their money–two essential resources.  When they give us their time, they trust that we won’t waste it, we’ll never use more than we need, and we’ll get the most out of each moment.  I guess that goes for their money as well.

One of the key service standards at Phone.com in achieving AWESOME customer service is value.  Our aim is to help our customers gain the most value possible from the service they pay us for and from every interaction with customer service.

Are you providing a service to your customers that is truly valuable?  When a customer entrusts you with their time and money, do you continuously earn that trust or do you waste it?  The trust of your customers is built over time but can be lost as quickly as you can say “The Empire Strikes Back.”

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

3 comments

  • Hi Jeremy,

    I wish more people shared the value of respecting other people’s stuff. The lesson of your post could also be applied to how other customers treat other customers. Here are just a few examples of bad behavior I routinely see:

    * Leaving a mess at a table in a fast food restaurant
    * Putting feet on seats in a movie theater, ballpark, or airplane
    * Pushing (yes, literally pushing) through lines and crowds
    * Littering
    * Cutting in line in front of other customers

    We think of service as customer + company, but other customers impact our experience too. Your post is a great reminder about respect and ownership.

  • Wise lesson to teach your kids Jeremy. I am still working on the “put the toilet seat back down” example and no matter how many times I tell them, I still forget and leave it up. Lesson learned for me: Life’s lessons are just one flush away.xo

    Great post. My sense of humor is a bit odd tnite. Sorry

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