Some friends and I were having lunch one day when our conversation turned, as it often does, to the subject of career choices. In my experience, these types of conversations generally involve two types of people, ones who wish to defend who they have become in the work-a-day world, and ones who wish they had become someone else. Our little friendly lunchtime group is always split right down the middle on this topic, except for this particular instance where I made the statement “We’re all in customer service, no matter what you do.” This set off quite a fiery and somewhat amusing discussion, with individuals vehemently denying and denouncing the customer service profession. Well, for all of you career customer service professionals, you’ll be happy to know that I defended our occupation with great pride. Here is some of what I told my friends as the discussion progressed.
Each and every one of us, at some time in our lives, has been in customer service. It may not have been how we were earning a living, but at some point, we have all provided some sort of service to others in our family, circle of friends, and even to perfect strangers. In general, if a person makes a request of you, no matter how small, they are positioning themselves as your customer for the service that they are requesting. When you provide that service, you are servicing your “customer” and are, therefore, in customer service. Think of the last time you pulled a can of peas off of the top shelf of the grocery store for that nice old lady. In this example, that nice old lady was your customer and the service that you provided was giving her the can of peas. Apply the same formula to the times when your mother asked you to clean your room when you were a kid, or when you held a door open for a woman with a baby carriage, or your teacher giving you a deadline for an assignment, or even your boss waiting for your input on a project. All of these examples involve you providing a service to a service-requester.
Naturally, the field of customer service and the subtly of customer “handling” is much more complex than simply passing the peas. And, perhaps it does take a special type of person to excel as a customer service professional. The point that I was making in our discussion was that, the basics of what we do as customer service professionals have been taught to us all throughout our lives. So no matter what profession you are in, at some point that profession calls upon you to also be in customer service. Some of my friends were still opposed to the idea. I just chuckled as I asked them to pass the pepper!
Originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network: Customer Service-Everybody Does It