Who is your customer? Whether an entrepreneur, an employee, or retired we all
have people who function as our customer. Who have you identified as your
customer? What if we approached each situation with the mindset that EVERYONE is
our customer? Sure in business, the consumer of our goods or services offered is
our customer. What about internal customers in an organization (co-workers,
other departments etc)? On a personal level, consider your significant other,
children or other people you may live with or interact with in your daily
activities (store clerks, other drivers, neighbors etc). How would any of them
respond if you asked them, “On a scale of 1-10; 1 being pathetic and 10 being
outstanding; where would you rate my customer service?”
This can be a challenging question for all involved. If either person has
previously set the stage for argumentative behavior or the unwillingness or
inability to receive feedback, posing such a question can be more detrimental
than beneficial. That would probably best fall into the “better left alone”
Who determines the level of customer service? The customer of course! Why
state what may appear to be obvious? Same reason there’s no such thing as common
sense. Common sense and “the obvious” are only common sense and obvious to the
person who is able to see or grasp the concept in question. We could go on and
on with examples to illustrate the last point, however, that would detract from
the focus here.
To provide excellent customer service to others we must first provide
excellent customer service to ourselves. Why? We can only give to others what we
have within us. Suspect you’ve heard the often used example . . . what comes out
of an orange when you poke it? Juice. What kind? Orange juice. Many think the
last question is a silly one, however, the analogy clearly conveys the concept.
Want an indication of what’s really inside you (or maybe not)? Notice how you
respond in challenging situations. The good news is if you dislike what shows up
you can take appropriate steps to improve.
What about when you dislike other people’s behavior? The mistake we make when
we are the target of what we deem unacceptable behavior from another is that
their conduct is about us. Though we may be in direct line of impact, the
reality is we are seeing a reflection of their perceived value to themselves and
how they treat themselves. Making someone else’s behavior about us is actually
an excuse for taking
responsibility of our own response.
Pertinent question to use in any situation is, “What is the best way to
handle the situation to get the desired result?” Notice consideration of what we
feel like doing is set aside. As opposed to negating our feelings, the goal is
deciding what outcome we are striving for.
At times, many of us can get caught up in rather being right than happy or
effective. This very temptation loomed for me recently when a file from a
previous service provider was sought. My point of contact informed me she has
since parted ways with the creator of the file. In addition, when asked for the
name and any contact info, the response was curt (my interpretation of email).
Emotionally, and certain the name was known; even if the rest of the contact
info was outdated; there was a strong internal pull to ask again, only for the
Where was this conviction getting me? Frustrated and fuming with negative
energy. And need it be said no closer to obtaining the sought file. What was in
my control? My response. Therefore, consideration was best dedicated to what
options were before me and how they would impact me and my operation.
How is this related to customer service? Acutely aware without better
customer service to myself there’s an inability to provide excellence to my
direct customers. The choice was clear. Allow the person involved (or the
situation) to continue to have a detrimental impact or shift the energy. When facing such
interactions are you sucked into someone else’s stuff and surrendering your
What seems to interfere for many is drawing the conclusion that in letting go
of being right the other person IS right; and horrors, maybe gloating thinking
they got the best of us or the situation. When does the person or situation
really get the best of us; when we let them consume us or when we keep focus on
what’s truly important and valuable to us? Agitation remains when concentration
adheres to being right or the dislike of the unfolding of the interaction.
Freedom, effectiveness, excellent customer service all result when we keep the
attention on what we value. What do you claim to value? How well are you
thinking, speaking and acting accordingly?
Sure, certain facts; as unpleasant or undesired as they may be; will still
exist. However, ask yourself how is remaining stubborn benefiting you, changing
the circumstances or helping any aspect of your life or business. Bottom line,
you can only offer what’s inside and what’s inside is your decision and
independent of anything or anyone outside of you. Where in your life or business
could you let go of being right and deliver greater customer service to yourself
and those you serve?