Is Customer Service A Lost Art?

I often tell people I feel as though great customer service is a lost art in our society. Why? I have a few theories. First of all are we teaching our children to treat others as they want to be treated? Yep, that is the Golden Rule and it was drilled into me from as early as I can remember. Wickpedia lists the following definition:

The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is an ethical code, or a morality[2], that states (in four forms, see table below):

One should treat others according to how one would like others to treat them (positive, passive form)
Treat others as you would like to be treated (positive, active form)
One should not treat others in ways one would not like to be treated (prohibitive, passive form)
Do not treat others in ways you would not like to be treated (prohibitive, active form. Also called the Silver Rule).
Is this too Biblical, does it cross the lines of Church vs. State? Maybe to some. If you continue to read the Wickpedia definition, you will see that in some form the Golden Rule has a basis in all major religions from Christianity to Islam and beyond. So if you are sensitive to Church vs. State issues perhaps you don’t choose to believe that you should treat others the way you wish to be treated.

I personally am not an overly religious person but I do believe in the “human condition”. Wickpedia deifinition as follows:

The human condition encompasses the experiences of being human in a social, cultural, and personal context. The “human condition” is especially studied through the set of disciplines and sub-fields that make up the humanities. The study of history, philosophy, literature, and the arts all help understand the nature of the human condition and the broader cultural and social arrangements that make up our lives.

So therefore I continue to follow what I consider to be the very essence of being human and treat others as I want to be treated.

My second theory of the lost art of customer service is the service industry itself. In a society where sports figures, movie stars and others in the lime light receive billions we value the all mighty dollar and what we can gain by it. Typically service related jobs are low paying. Therefore if we value the dollar, how can we value a job that doesn’t pay the big bucks? Well again a lesson from my childhood comes to mind. If you can’t do a job to the best of your ability don’t do it at all. I can’t tell you how many times my Grandpa would make me redo something because I hadn’t done it right. And I knew more times than not that I hadn’t done the best I could have. Gramps would always use the ” Are you proud of this? Do you want your name on this?” Gramps would never threaten, he just had that sound in his voice. I still hear that voice, “Do I want my name on this?” So to me it doesn’t matter if I’m digging a ditch (which I have done), serving a meal (done) or greeting a customer nor does it matter if I’m getting paid minimum wage. If my name is on it, it’s gonna be the best I can do. People don’t choose our jobs. Usually what happens is we apply for the job we have, we are accepted based on ourselves and our experience, we give an honest days work for an honest days pay. Period. If you don’t like it don’t do it. But if you do do it, do you want your name on it. I try to be the best I can be in everything I do.

My last theory of the lost art of customer service, when was the last time you threw in a little extra? No, I don’t mean fries. I’m talking about you. When was the last time you went a little extra for someone else? Did you have an opportunity? Bet you did unless you live under a rock. We all need to think more about what we can do for others not just in the service industry but in the “being human industry”. I have a favorite set of books by Og Mandino called the Greatest Saleman in the World. If you haven’t read these you should. They are a series of little books and I continue to read them a couple of times each year. Just for a brush up. One of my favorite quotes to follow.

“Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find ”tomorrow” on the calendars of fools. Forget yesterday’s defeats and ignore the problems of tomorrow. This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year. The saddest words you can ever utter are, ”If I had my life to live over again. ”Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day! Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”
Og Mandino

Make a difference, treat people the way you want to be treated, go that extra mile and put your name on everything you do. Let’s make customer service a true art!


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