Good Customer Service Doesn’t Require a Marathon Effort


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By Brian Olson – Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Jacada Inc.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to run a marathon in Atlanta.  Aside from sharing the road with a few thousand other like-minded crazies, this was a chance to run through some of Atlanta’s most historic and beautiful neighborhoods.  The race organizers also sponsored a neighborhood challenge – whereby neighborhoods and communities were challenged to show their unique spirit, staff water tables and provide encouragement to the runners.  The winners – as judged and selected by the runners – receive a small donation into their community coffers for improvement projects.

But for me, the really great thing about the race was the volunteers: without the scores of volunteers, this race would not have happened.  I make it a point to personally thank as many of these fine folks as I can, for they willingly and unselfishly give their time and encouragement to make it possible for me (and the other crazies) to run.  I thank them because I am sincerely grateful for their presence and generosity.

At the 13-mile point – about half way through the race – is the community of Decatur, known for its outpouring of support and for really laying out the red carpet.  It’s also the point in the race where, as a runner, the feet and legs start to fall off and you start to wonder why you didn’t decide to stay in bed and sleep in.  I was approaching a young police officer at an intersection and as I was trying to find the breath to thank her for coming out and allowing me to run, when she flashed me a big smile and said “thanks for coming out to run this morning, we really hope you come back to see us.”  Huh?  Wait a moment… I’m supposed to be thanking her.  She beat me to the punch.

Oh, by the way… did I mention it was raining?

Not only was she volunteering her time, but she was standing in the pouring rain, thanking me for coming out and wanting to make sure I came back to visit her fine city again.  Talk about lifting your spirits when you need it most.

And this scenario was repeated over and over again.  The senior citizens under umbrellas, the firemen who were handing out orange slices.  The small child who ran up to me and gave me a small bag of Skittles (which were the best darn tasting Skittles I have ever eaten).  Every single one of them welcomed me to their city, thanked me for coming out and asked if I would please come back and visit them again.  And they were all standing out there in the rain getting soaked.  Smiling.

It made a big impression on me.  Yes, I will come back, and I will bring lots of people with me.  And we’re going to eat and drink and shop and spend money.  And you can bet I’ll see them again during the race next year.

It also reinforced a point: good customer service doesn’t need to require lots of technology and gadgets, fancy spinning lights, sales, flashy mailers.  It doesn’t need to take a marathon effort.  It can start with a simple – but very heartfelt – thank-you for being a customer, for visiting and please come back again.

‘Cause you never know how many hills that customer has climbed, or puddles they have stepped in, or miles they have slogged, before they called you.  And trust me – it will make a difference.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Cindy Knezevich
Cindy Knezevich is Director of Global Product Marketing & Communications at Jacada (NASDAQ: JCDA), a leading provider of unified desktop and process optimization software solutions for the customer service and support market.


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