What comes to mind when you hear “Customer Service”? Someone behind a desk taking phone calls or someone on the other end of the phone answering questions? Customer service should not be viewed as a “job” but a “quality” everyone should possess no matter your job description be it selling recharge cards on the street or selling a product or service within the confines of an office. 

Have you tried to get information from someone and they tell you ……”oh that is not my job or department, I do not know about it”. The general attitude portrayed from their body language is, “I show up on time every day, I get paid”. People often forget that their job will not exist without people buying the service or product. 

Customer service is not a designation, it is a quality everyone in the organization must have. Whether you are in accounts or marketing, you should have an in-depth knowledge of the business to provide first level information to both internal and external customers. Customer service is not just about providing service or showing up, it is about creating VALUE. Is your product or service meeting a need? Are you providing VALUE such that people want your product and come back for it? Let me tell you about my recent “customer service” experience.

I had indulged myself all week eating “unhealthy” food aka junk. With a repentant heart, I decided to get a vegetable boost so I went to one of the restaurants where I know I can get a nice bowl of salad. On getting there, the lady at the cash register told me how much it would cost and I handed her the money. I was told it would take twenty five minutes, so I sat down patiently and engaged myself for thirty minutes. After thirty minutes, no food, no explanation! I thought to myself, am I missing something? 30 minutes wait – “check”, food paid for – “check”. My thoughts were this, if I have done all the right things as a customer, it is only right that I be properly informed about the status of my salad and be served in a timely manner. I waited another two minutes before walking up to the lady at the cash register, the same lady to whom I paid, – “can you kindly let me know what is going on with my salad?” – I asked. Her initial response was – “it is not ready”. I then reiterated that I had waited thirty-two minutes instead of twenty-five minutes communicated. Her response threw me off balance – she said without concern and almost aloof, “my job is just to get the payment, you will have to ask the other lady in the corner over there” – she pointed, “she is the manager!” Bewildered with my jaw ajar, I stared at her in shock. I think she saw my look of total disbelief so she walked up to the manager to ask about my salad. After this experience, I thought – I do not want to come here again.

This experience may sound familiar to you and you may probably identify with it. The reality is that if existing customers leave and new ones are not generated, the company cannot make enough money to pay you! Everyone in any organization must be knowledgeable about the company’s products and services and be able to offer first level support and basic information irrespective of which department they work in.

Providing good customer service is not a choice, it is an essential if you want to grow a successful business.