The customer satisfaction mission is not necessarily impossible


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Daily ingenuity wins every time.

The old “Mission: Impossible” TV show was a great standard that has since grown into the multi-million dollar movie franchise with Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt.

What was cool about the old TV show was that, while every mission was different, the plot of the show always took the same path: there was the very cool “self-destruct” aspect of receiving the mission; then the villains and objective of the mission would be described to the IM team via a slide show or photographs (so we knew what all the bad guys looked like); then the team would describe some creative initial plan where they cover every possible contingency as to what they were attempting to accomplish.

Then, halfway through the show, some unexpected villain would show up at the critical moment, or some unforeseen glitch would happen with a technical device, and the team would be exposed and holding their breath until…the commercial. Then, when the action resumes, they would improvise some way around the danger, on the spot, and then the plan could resume to its inevitable success.

“Seemingly impossible achievements are accomplished by people who refuse to yield to obstacles that can get in the way of the objective.”

Even though viewers knew this is the general format of each story, it still held their interest. Why? Because the team would always accomplish something that everyone else said was impossible to do? Mostly. (Plus there were all kinds of cool spy gadgets). But even beyond all that, the reason I personally enjoyed the show was that regardless of all of the planning and research, the success of the mission would typically rely on one critical moment of creative ingenuity to keep the mission moving forward. There was always some unforeseen occurrence that would need to be overcome.

What makes any mission impossible? I believe it’s that people think it’s impossible, or that they will not even try to come up with a solution. Then it really is impossible. However, seemingly impossible achievements are accomplished by people who refuse to yield to obstacles that can get in the way of the objective. Then, and only then, the impossible things transform into improbable things, and improbable things that happen regularly then move into the realm of the possible, and eventually become routine.

Hassle-free customer service can seem impossible, but it’s not. What does it take to move our impossible things into the realm of the achievable, and then ultimately into the routine? Answer: your creative ingenuity on the spot at each seemingly impossible hurdle that needs to be overcome. Then repeat that each day.

Only try to get it done before the commercial. I hate suspense.

‘The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer.” – a US Air Force motto

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Martorano
Steve has been on the front lines with customers for over 25 years. He is currently Director of Customer Services for Polygon Northwest, a real estate developer in both the Seattle and Portland markets. Steve is also the creator of, an online resource designed to provide insights and training to customer professionals across many industries.


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