Customer Service or Customers Serve Us?

Have you ever felt whenever you were in a place of business that the employees really didn’t care whether you were there or not?

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I have even felt that I was being regarded as existing strictly for their benefit. Far too many times I have encountered service personnel that made no attempt to hide their annoyance at my questions and comments.

More often than not, whenever I’ve provided feedback that was intended to be helpful and constructive it has been met with joking, excuse-making, patronization or obvious, even if polite, disregard. It’s as if companies are in business to be served by their customers.

What can be done to make the experiences we have with businesses more enjoyable, satisfying and fun? The answer is to be found in the implementation of the seven “Fs” of making customers’ experience with your organization outstanding and memorable.

Taken together these components become a dynamic strategy for consistently providing service that meets specific needs and results in maximum benefit and enjoyment for customers. Dramatic improvements in customer satisfaction will result when these “Fs” are faithfully followed.

Precisely how to thoroughly implement this approach will be something that each organization will have to determine for itself. Of course, I have my own ideas on this but I don’t have enough space to discuss them in this article.

There is only one simple guideline that needs to be observed as you develop your implementation plan. As Davy Crockett, the celebrated hero of the Alamo and backwoods statesman, was once quoted as saying, “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.” How do you know when you’re right?

You’ll know only after you’ve obtained the input from everyone who has anything at all to do with your organization. When I say everyone I mean everyone: ownership, management, employees, vendors and a composite of customers from all demographic categories.

“Input = Buy In.” This is a formula I use all the time when addressing organizational development issues. When you get input from everyone who is or will be even remotely involved in the issue or process in question, you also get their buy in to helping implement the necessary changes in behaviors that will result in an improved work environment and increased innovation, enthusiasm and productivity.

Then you’ll see your people serving customers like they’ve never done before. They’ll creatively serve because they want to. They’ll willingly serve because they’re now stakeholders in the outcomes of all interactions with customers. They’ll eagerly serve because they will have learned how to effectively manage their own natural desire as human beings to want to be served.

Being served is one of life’s most gratifying experiences. It’s this experience that your employees will seek to provide for every customer. In effect, they will be fleshing out the Golden Rule: they will serve their customers as they would like to be served. This is a daily choice that isn’t always easy to make. The “Fs” can help you more readily and willingly make the choice to serve rather than be served in your relationships with your customers.

Here are the seven “Fs” that create the kind of customer service that is completely satisfying to every customer every time:

  1. Focus on others not on yourself
  2. Feelings of others are more important than your own feelings at the time
  3. Following the customer first by listening and understanding, then leading them to the best product/service for them
  4. Fun! Making the experience memorable by making it entertaining and interactive
  5. Forwarding information received about customers to other departments/branches/people so they can serve these customers better; one of my mottos for customer service is, “None of us know as much as all of us know about the customer”
  6. Funnel the customer’s attention and interest into broader possibilities and opportunities for their particular situation and needs
  7. Future state of the organization is linked to the way we treat customers today and how we address their respective needs, answer their questions and solve their problems; as we help them benefit and improve their situations, we’re also doing the same for our organization

Once the “7 F Strategy” is implemented, you can expect customers to be served in a fashion that causes them to become loyal fans and advocates for your company.

Customers will appreciate being creatively and enthusiastically served by your organization – and it’ll show because your customers will keep showing up for more!

About the Author

Ken Wallace, M. Div., CSL has been in the organizational development field since 1973. He is a seasoned consultant, speaker and executive coach with extensive business experience in multiple industries who provides practical organizational direction and support for business leaders.

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