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For several years, I have been deeply frustrated by the poor service offered by my internet provider. I have had to deal with recurrent outages, slow speeds

and poor customer service. About two months ago, I could no longer bear spending huge chunks of my time on the phone trying to resolve problems with the ISP, so I terminated the service. I was optimistic when I switched to the biggest telecom who had been running a suave campaign for their new home service. Alas, I only got out of the frying pan into the fire. My new set of problems started right from set up.

Customer service – don’t we all have experiences to recount? Customer service is a topic we can get fairly emotional about. Each time I broach the subject to a friend, I hear another horror story of poor customer experience. And yet, customer service is not just a failing of ISPs. It’s a skill we all need to perfect. Here are some thoughts triggered by five notable quotes on the subject…

“Make a customer, not a sale.” –Katherine Barchetti

Businesses invest a lot in how they execute their sales processes, so they do a great job of presenting products and closing the sale. In many instances, the after sales experience turns out to be horrendous, as is in my situation with the two ISPs. The same institution that was brilliant at sales turns out to be awfully sloppy at executing customer experience. Some dissatisfied customers will leave, meaning that the company will lose the long-term revenue these customers could have generated.

“If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.” –Unknown

It happens all the time. A business is the first to offer a product or service in the area. Customers have no alternative supplier. The business has the prerogative to be good to its customers anyway, or to let them know in no uncertain terms that ‘we are doing you a great favour!’ It’s only a matter of time, though, before there’s a ‘new kid on the block’; another business comes in with a smile and provides your customers (now former customers) with the customer service they’ve been craving. Soon your business is referred to only in the news or in history as ‘the defunct company’, another term for ‘extinct’.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” –Abraham Lincoln

Would you agree that service is not so much an action as it is a frame of mind that results in a positive action? Two waiters in a restaurant, for instance, can take your order and serve you the exact same meal; but your dining experience will be different, based on each one’s attitude. To cultivate an attitude of service, begin at home. Wish your family a genuine good morning and take interest in their day ahead. On the way to work, render service to another driver or pedestrian by patiently giving way and smiling. If you serve your spouse, your kids, and other road users, you’ll be ready to serve professionally at work as well.

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” –Carl Jung

Good branding is great. It attracts customers; entices them to try your product or service. People want to be associated with a good brand. Those customers really want to give us a chance. But if we brand our pizza delivery service, for instance, with the slogan ‘we deliver while it’s hot,’ we must follow through on the promise. If we deliver it stone cold in two hours, we probably won’t be getting too many repeat customers. Enough said.

“The greatest among you will be your servant.” –Jesus

This one brings to mind managers who sit in glass-walled offices with a shiny ‘MANAGER’ plaque on their door. The glass walls suggest that the managers get to see if customers are getting good service. Ideally, they step out of their offices and render their services when they notice things aren’t running as they ought to – the mark of a truly great manager.


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