Aug 29, 2013

YES is the answer, now what was the question: Customer Service

My Dad used to say: "YES! is the answer. Now, what was your question?" This was always in connection with customer service. I grew up with it, and it is a part of my very being. That phrase has helped shape who am I and why I will do whatever it takes to find a solution.

From the time of my very first job, I have always believed that "Customer Service" is the key, regardless of who the "customers" are.

Over the years, I have learned from my mistakes (like not asking the customer if their computer had a 3.5-inch floppy drive or a 5.25-inch drive, thus getting cussed at for selling the wrong media) and I have grown in my conviction that no matter what title I hold, I will do what I need to do.

I am slowly (albeit VERY slowly) coming to see that I can have assistance without appearing as though I can't accomplish something. Sometimes, I just have to stop and say, "I'm going to need your help getting this done for (insert customer)."

I refuse to accept "It can't be done" as the answer. It may not be done the way was originally intended, but a solution can be found for any situation.

I once read somewhere:
1. I can do it cheaply.2. I can do it well.3. I can do quickly.
Pick any two.
While I find that hilarious in my demented form of humor, I aim to hit all three whenever possible. That is part of my "Customer Service" mentality, I suppose. I hate knowing that someone I am trying to help can't succeed because of some stumbling block. In my mind, stumbling blocks and roadblocks are just things in the way that we have to figure out how to navigate around, over, or through.  Many times, I will not wait for someone else to come up with a solution - I'll come up with something, even if it is temporary, to reach the intended goal.

This doesn't make me "Superman" or mean that I walk on water. It means that I work my hardest to help everyone I am charged with helping, and stepping up to help those that aren't directly within the group of folks I usually support.

Sometimes, I fail miserably. But, after I get up from being knocked down and try to take away a lesson learned so that next time, I can try to avoid the same mistakes.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because I believe "Customer Service," and I mean REAL service to the customer, is a dying art. No matter what you do for a living, no matter if is a paid position or volunteer, know who your "customers" are and what they need. Learn who they are. Learn what they need. Take time to listen - not just hear, but listen. And, above all, take action as soon as you can to solve problems that arise.

Taking action can land you in some seriously hot water sometimes, too. Sometimes, you have to "tell it like is" or have a "come to Jesus" meeting about a situation. As long as you have the customer's best interest at heart, you really won't do wrong.  Taking action may mean a bit of research before implementing a solution. Fine. But, get the research done and get into action solving the problem. Make calls, order equipment, hit your knees in prayer if you have to - Whatever it takes.

The next time you're faced with someone who says, "I have a question..." or "Can we..." Before they ask, think to yourself (or heck, say it out loud like my Dad would), "YES is the answer. What's the question?"

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