What is Customer Service?


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I’ve never taken one of those Rorschach tests.  You know the psychological test in which you’re shown a series of inkblots and are supposed to say the first thing that comes to mind?  These are supposed to evaluate your personality characteristics and emotional functioning (note to self: call psychologist and schedule one of those).

So, what’s the first thing that popped into your head when you saw the title of this post?  A cubical farm filled with folks wearing headsets?  The “call center”?  A feeling of panic at the thought of dialing an 800 number and being tossed into IVR jail with no escape except to hang up in frustration?

I’m guessing your immediate thoughts went to something along those lines.  And that’s tragic.  Its a tragedy that so many organizations continue to be satisfied with letting this be how their customers view customer service.

We had a lively chat in our weekly #custserv gathering last night on Twitter.  The topic was “Is Customer Service the New Marketing?”  While I don’t agree with that statement; and the reasons why are for another post.  It became clear in that conversation, that the above visuals are where the vast majority of peoples’ heads go when they think of customer service.

Customer service is not a department.  Its not a function.  Its not that one floor, non descript brick building rising up in the middle of an Idaho potato field. 

I’m in customer service.  I’m a technologist that works in a contact center.  My number one objective is to serve my customers, both internal and external.  Notice I didn’t say “service my customers”.  My customers aren’t cars coming into the dealer for a 30,000 mile check up.  They are valuable partners in my business, that I do well to serve.  In return, they provide value back.

In delivering our work, whether you’re a marketer, a financial analyst, a package designer or night security guard, if we all thought more like Craig Newman, who’s business card reads “Founder, CEO & Customer Service Representative – Craigslist”, I think we’d all be better served.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Barry Dalton
Telerx Marketing
Consumed by the pursuit of delightful service. Into all things customer loyalty and technology. My current mission is developing new service channels and the vision of the contact center of the future.


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