Customer Service and the Game of Billiards

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I stumbled upon an article on RetailCustomerExperience.com that opens with a comparison of a game of billiards to customer service.

Bob Phibbs shares his not-so-good customer experience with Home Depot. The first time, he came in and needed help but the salesclerks were gathered around each other hesitant to move away and help him. The second time, he was asked by the salesclerk to buy from the store and not online so that the latter could keep his job. Read the two incidents here.

But I liked it when Phibbs likened the start of a game of billiards to the start of a customer service experience. Like in a billiards game, it starts with the balls gathered at the center, and then comes a cue ball to scatter them. Much like a customer service experience, a customer is the cue ball and the salesclerks the other balls. Once the customer (the cue ball) enters the store, the gathered salesclerks (the other balls) should scatter and attend to the customer.

Yes, a customer experience should start that way. The business and its salesclerks should not wait for the customer to seek them out to begin the service. This should not be overdone though, to the point of being too hovering and intrusive.

Going back to the game of billiards, as you start the game, you carefully hit each ball with your cue ball to avoid foul shots. In the same manner in the customer experience transaction, you as the player (either as the customer or the sales clerk) should be careful in making your moves so as not to offend the other.

After all, customer service begins and ends with how each one of you treat one another or play with one another.

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