Customer Service is Passionate

20 Minutes in the rain....

While on a recent trip, I watched these bags sit in a pouring rain for twenty minutes. Companies want to stand out from their competition in the marketplace……it’s very easy to do this…..treat your customers well!

After three months of wintering in the Caribbean, I return having been reminded, rather harshly, of how terrible customer service is these days – it’s EVERYWHERE. The quality of service has become so poor that when given reasonable service (not great service) it stands out. Let me repeat this in another way – mediocre service brings attention to itself because it’s better than bad!!!!

While returning to the US on a major US carrier (with the letters U & S in the company title) I was amazed by the appalling customer service I received! We’ve all seen it because traveling has become less than enjoyable. Let me set the stage.  Remember the glory days when flying was fun and you were served coffee with a smile? Now let’s think in complete opposite of those terms and you have today’s typical flying experience. Today’s coffee service is more like coffee with a growl.

I won’t ramble in great detail about my experience because it’s not unique. Between a canceled flight, disinterested agents unwilling to extend themselves, cramped seating, flight attendants forgetting orders and seemingly frustrated to be asked anything at all … get the picture because you’ve experienced it yourself. The biggest tragedy of the whole thing is that as consumers we’re paying premium pricing for a lousy service.

Remember the Southwest Airlines flight attendant who rapped and the video went viral? How many of us who fly Southwest secretly hoped he’d be our flight attendant? It’s not that he gave great service, it’s that he stood out brightly from all the rest. Just in case you were living in a hole somewhere and never saw the video, here it is:

So what does this say? A guy rapping on a flight? It says he’s passionate about what he’s doing. Is he tired? You bet. So that’s my benchmark for customer service. Passion.

Before I started writing this blog post today, I looked up the term ‘Customer Service’ on and wikipedia and the definitions given, left me disappointed.

Here’s the Wikipedia definition: “Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation.” It sounds all too….correct. The definition of customer service has no soul. I couldn’t help but feel that the definition of customer service given by wikipedia was giving me bad service in the way it defined it.

Customer service has soul….a Rod Tidwell kind of soul…..PASSIONATE! SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!! kind of soul. Remember the Quan from Jerry Maguire? When dealing with customer service, we need to be the Ambassadors of Quan…..”Love..respect, community, the dollars too, the entire package……QUAN.”

Anyone in the position of giving great customer service must be passionate about pleasing people. Even if they don’t like their jobs or what they’re getting paid – they must be passionate about pleasing.

Mark Sanborn stated in his book The Fred Factor:
“Uninspired people rarely do inspired work. Passionate people in an organization are different. They do ordinary things extraordinarily well….”

He went on to say, “Customers don’t have relationships with organizations; they form relationships with individuals. Passionate employees, whether they are salespeople, technicians, or service reps, constantly show their commitment to customers. They do this by demonstrating their passion about what they do.”

I could go on about this, but when asked how best I can improve the PR or marketing of a company – this is the first place I would start – the service. Are your people passionate about what they’re doing? If they’re not – get rid of them because if you own your business, you’re certainly passionate about it’s success. If you’ve got wrong people greeting your guests then you will never have amazed customers who will tell the world about their experience on Facebook or Yelp, or tumblr… get the picture.

Have soul. Have passion. Be an ambassador of quan.

About James

James La Barrie is passionate about marketing and changing a company's service culture. Originally from the Caribbean island of Antigua, James melds his approach of marketing and delivering elite service together as one. James has injected his 'service marketing' approach throughout his career to transform companies from good to great.


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