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What Is Customer Service?

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

In one episode I welcomed the owners of my favorite burger joint ever. EVER. I am not playing. BlackSeed Burger Cult!

Now these two entrepreneurs just celebrated their 2nd year of operation, and if my calculations are corrected and I carry the 1 – 1 and we come up with a company that started right before a pandemic hit.

This is a story about how two friends had to rethink how to grow the business while staying true to the mission: making everyone feel welcomed.

And that is what I wanted to highlight today: how to make everyone feel welcome using customer services. Simply topic, I know, but let’s dig into:

What is customer service, why is it important, and why an entrepreneur should care?

First, why is customer service important? Honestly if you are asking yourself why you cannot verbally abuse a patron than I am not too sure I can help, but hopefully I can provide some insight into the importance of customer service. Such as customer retention.

According to business statistics it costs roughly 5x more to attract a new customer than it costs to retain an existing customer.

Again, back to the verbal parade example above: if I am the patron, and I am being slammed for requesting extra pineapple on my pizza, I may be inclined to visit another non-judgmental establishment, choosing to spend my money elsewhere.

Additionally, customer services always create a great opportunity for word-of-month advertising. There is an old saying: do one good thing and someone may tell one person; do one wrong thing and it’ll end up on social media, or something like that.

Who knows, really.

Nonetheless word-of-mouth advertisement is the best because it is as my father says is the best price: free.

But customer service needs to go beyond the “customer is always right” slogan. Sure, the intent of almost any business is to meet the needs of the customer. The definition of the customer may change, but the intent to meet their needs remains.

But as the customer, someone like myself and other interacting with entrepreneurs and business owners, the paying patrons in the example above, need to practice good customer service as well.

Wait what? Customers need to be good customers? Short answer: yes.

According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of American study: the impact of COVID-19 on small business outcomes saw 43% of businesses had temporarily closed, and nearly all these closures were due to COVID-19.

As I have said in pervious episodes this podcast was created to highlight our local business owners and their businesses in hopes of reinvigorating our local economy. However, us as consumers need to have better customer service skills when interacting with business owners and their staff.

I know you all know what I am talking about – we have all seen the “Karen” videos online, which I have to say let’s leave the individuals named Karen alone. That is a horrible generalization of all people named Karen, and I am admitting I am looking in the mirror as I say this. I am not perfect – nowhere near it in my perspective.

Which is why I understand I need to be a better customer to serve, and I encourage my listeners to challenge themselves to be better customers to serve as well. I’m talking being a better person to the individuals serving us a meal, a coffee, scanning our groceries, or even the person standing next to you in the grocery line.

I use this example often so I apologize if you have heard it before. But an example I give is, we cannot go into our closet and put on the ugliest outfit and blame the world for what we look like.

We all have bad days, I get it, and those bad days usually happen first thing in the morning: we woke up late, we missed the bus, we can’t find our keys, we spilt coffee on our pants. I get it. However, we cannot blame others.

As I have spoken about often on this show, I have had a long career in healthcare. This is an industry where we see individuals at their most vulnerable times. I recall a moment in my career when a guest approached me distraught and upset, tapping their hand on my desk to get my attention faster.

Now my reaction at the approach could have been met with the upset nature in which it may have been preservice to be delivered by the tapping on my desk, but my years in healthcare had taught me better.

I simply asked how I may help. “I am not sure where I parked my car”.

Now for some this may be a very interesting questions, how could someone misplace their car, but on the campus where I work the parking can be very confusing at best.

Knowing this much and using the description of how the guest came to park, I decided to escort the individual to the parking garage I believed to be the correct one.

After a few turns the guest began to cry. Naturally I apologized profusely unsure what happened and inquiring of such. It had turned out this individual had just been diagnosed with a life threatening illness.

I tell this story because that moment taught me that we do not know individual backstories. Passing quick judgement on others prohibits us from learning more.

You never know, the person flipping the burgers may be the owners.

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