Want to know why great customer service is hard to find? Because it requires an investment of time, money, and planning.
We’re fast to complain about the shortcomings of businesses who fail to give great service — just read Yelp and you’ll see all sorts of disappointments in the area of customer service — but are we actually willing do something about it?
We all may hope a culture of appreciation and helpfulness was built into every business exchange, but desire doesn’t make it so. Money and intention do.
So if you want great customer service, you need to start investing in it.
Investing in Hospitality
Kindness and generosity of spirit may be inherent for some, but natural empathy and kindness is a trait that requires cultivation in most people.
The average Jane and Joe don’t spend their days thinking up ways to relate to another person’s pain. The hourly worker isn’t empowered to dedicate time to creatively problem solve a solution that will make a stranger feel better about themselves and the product they just purchased. In truth, most consumers and employers want fast and efficient help that comes at a low price. They expect nicety and warmth will be offered to them gratis.
The sad truth is, we live in a world where we expect altruism and compassion but we don’t cultivate these traits in our institutions. Schools don’t require Mindfulness and Compassion 101. The workplace isn’t where you take classes on empathy. Our government doesn’t require our public servants to be trained in radical hospitality. I mean, who can afford such frivolities!?
And yet, how is it we expect people to be giving and kind to one another in our daily exchanges, if we don’t invest time in speaking about such things?
If you want to grow employees or people who treat others with warmth and compassion, we have to take the time to teach such traits.
And guess what, folks. Time = money.
Time = Money
We can wish all day long that kindness and compassion were inherent traits that were taught in homes and in the business world, but–on average–they aren’t.
As a people, we would rather spend money on software training, speed, and efficiency than traits like big-heartedness and unselfishness. Check out the job postings on most company websites and you are not going to find empathy and benevolence listed under job requirements.
To get great customer service we have to build meaning into our work and begin growing gentleness and hospitality within us.
A Call to Action
Businesses: If your business collects complaints about customer service or you own or work at a restaurant that’s plagued with flaming Yelp reviews, I suggest you think about investing more time into building a culture of hospitality. If you don’t know where to start, I suggest you seek outside help (there are great books and people like me who specialize in teaching such things).
Consumers: If you find yourself consistently disappointed with the service you get at restaurants, banks, retail stores, and daily business exchanges–I have a revolutionary suggestion for you: start investing time and money into supporting the businesses that treat you well and learning how to be kinder to yourself and others.
If you want to be treated well or have employees treat customers with kindness and respect–we have to be willing to invest in it. How will you start investing?