Over the past few weeks, I've been working through some broad concepts regarding PhaseWare, our platform, and customer service as a whole. In the end, it's been a process of reduction as I've reached a rather elementary conclusion about the heart of customer service (as you may have already seen in these dispatches).
In any case, customer service - even great customer service - should be easy. A customer asks a question, an agent answers the question. Q&A. Plain and simple. And while it may be a sort of folksy Prairie Home Companion philosophy for business, it just feels right.
It actually got me thinking about Robert Fulghum's once-ubiquitious book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Published in 1988 and quoted incessantly throughout the 1990's includes essays on simple rules and viewpoints taught to most American children in kindegarten.
The overriding thought is that grown-ups would do well to remember these lessons and continue to heed them throughout their lives.For instance, these lessons include: share everything, play fair, don't hit people, put things back where you found them, clean up your own mess, don't take things that aren't yours, etc.
|Sometimes the rules don't seem fair. In Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Jeff Spicoli and crew are repeatedly reminded to observe these simple rules: "No shoes. No shirt. No dice." As Brad tells them, "Learn it. Know it. Live it."|
As customer-focused companies, there's one quote I think we should always be mindful of:
“You may never have proof of your importance but you are more important than you think. There are always those who couldn’t do without you. The rub is that you don’t always know who.” - Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
When it comes to our customers, they should absolutely always know exactly how important they are to us.
In a similar vein to Mr. Fulghum's lessons, Lance Norman, one of my great friends and a much loved kindergarten art teacher, asks his students to follow five simple rules. The best part is that Lance is not your average teacher, not even for an art teacher. He often looks like a hillbilly snake handler, rides a motorcycle to work when it's sunny, and still considers a skateboard as a viable means of transportation.
When it comes to keeping his kids in line, however, no one's better. And it's my opinion, every great customer service agent would do well to follow these same rules:
Rule #1: Act right
Rule #2: Raise your hand
Rule #3: Follow directions
Rule #4: Don't freak out
Rule #5: Make good choices
If we behave appropriately, ask the right questions at the right time, follow procedure correctly, manage our emotions, and continually make good choices; we may not always come out on top, but more often than not, we'll have happy outcomes all the way around.