Is customer service important? The answer is yes! Customer service has both short-term and long-term implications. Consider this real-life experience: I needed some short-sleeved shirts. My long-time clothing store had closed all its Seattle locations, so I decided to try Men’s Warehouse. As I entered the store, a sales clerk mumbled a greeting. I explained what I was looking for. He walked me over to a clearance rack and went back to talking with other employees about their tastes in music. The store was not busy, he could have helped me look through their stock (clearance or otherwise), but his priority was hanging out with his coworkers, not building a relationship with a customer.
The Long and Short Game of Customer Service
Customer service is both a long and short game. The clerk failed on both. In the short game, he made no attempt to build a human connection. He didn’t try to help me in the moment. He could have found the section with my size. He could have asked about the styles I was interested in. He could have engaged in small talk to better understand my needs. For the long game, he could have talked about when the shirts I was looking for are in season. He could have offered to add me to the store’s mailing list. He could have worked to make me feel welcome in the store. The customer service short game is about taking care of the customer’s immediate needs. It’s about making them feel important and cared for. The customer service long game is about building long-term relationships that create repeat customers.
He did nothing to help his short game or his long game. Short-term: I left without buying anything. Long-term: It’s not likely that I’ll return in the future.
Is Customer Service Important in IT?
In my world of IT, this is like the technician who doesn’t take advantage of opportunities to connect with an end-user during a support call. When you ask the right questions of your customers, you can gain a deeper understanding of their needs, both short-term and long-term. Your genuine empathy, combined with curiosity helps make your customer feel cared for and understood. That’s a human connection and that, in turn, helps build long-term relationships based on trust and respect.
Remember, customer service is both a short game and a long game. Build a successful career or business by focusing on both.
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