• Karen

The Other Side of Customer Service

In just a few days, I will start teaching another class in Customer Service Communication. Over the course of four weeks I will encourage students to examine their communication skills and to work on their understanding of empathy in work environments. All of this in an effort to help them connect with and provide better service to customers and clients in businesses of all sizes. Yet, as I work this side of the business/customer relationship, I remain conscious of the other half.

I must confess, though I try not to judge, I watch how others treat service workers. I find I don’t want to socialize with, or be seen with, people who bark at wait staff, yell at bus drivers, or threaten cashiers. Are paying customers entitled to question and complain when they get poor service? Absolutely. Should they treat those whose job it is to provide them with service as less than human? Absolutely not.

So next week when I am cautioning a class of business students to smile, listen, and be patient, I will be trying to absorb the message myself. Knowing that the next time I communicate with customer service workers – either in the little shops in my neighborhood, or online through a chat box – I ought to apply all that classroom wisdom in real life.

Society seems to be struggling these days. Whether it’s fatigue from political discourse, worries about infectious disease, or chronic economic uncertainty, many are so weighed down with emotional and spiritual toxins it can be hard to remember the advice from preschool – be nice. While I do plan to introduce my class to a lot of useful information, I can offer you the core message in plain language: Take your favorite version of “The Golden Rule” and use it. Every day.

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