My friend and I were recently at a business event. And conversation came around to talking about business models. And after rolling around the business models with Web 2.0 startups and innovations and trolling through the buzzword-friendly marketing arenas of word-of-mouth and customer experience marketing, my friend looked at me and said, “you’re just customer service.”
I laughed. I had to agree: yep. We’re “just” customer service.
That’s the point, isn’t it?
Serving the customer? Meeting their needs, solving their problems, making them happy, making them want to call you again, seeing you as a trusted advisor, having them smile at the thought of calling your company? That’s the point, right?
Customer challenges, when met, are the ones we brag about to our family and peers and leaders. Helping customers is the source for our sense of accomplishment, our sense of well-being, our intrinsic rewards and sense of worth.
Serving the customer. Meeting their needs.
It’s “just” customer service.
It’s just customer service for those companies who are growing, self-sustaining, exceptional in their fields, looked to as leaders.
Fred Reichheld in his book, The Ultimate Question, talks about how companies are addicted to bad profits — profits that come at the customer’s expense and drain the value out of customer relationships. They burn out employees and alienate customers.
Companies whose business model is “just” customer service are filled with staff who are inspired and motivated. They’ve connected their passion to serve with the needs of their customers. Internal or external customers. It doesn’t matter. It’s just customer service.
Customers are the ones that pay our salaries.
For those that forget, customers pay salaries. They provide the cash that exceeds expenses in cash-flow statements and net income statements. Bonuses are derived from customer payments — well, they are in the better-run companies.
You sometimes wonder if the company you’re calling, or working for, forgets that. It’s a crass motivator, I agree. But it’s useful. There may be readers too jaded to embrace a life of service in the business world.
If you can’t serve the customer, remember they pay your salary.
When you serve the customer, you no longer need to serve others.
Others like banks for loans, or ad agencies to drive your message. Ad agencies and their expenses aren’t needed when your customers are served. Customers carry your message. And that message is their experience with your company: It’s wonderful they tell their friends and colleagues and neighbors. Their ad for you is convincing. Not so with your ad agencies.
It’s “just” customer service that can free you to control your destiny, your mission, your customers, your business, your day. It’s just serving your customer that gives you the freedom to build your day, run your business, innovate and change the way you want to, the way your customers want to.
Oh. And make a little money.
You’re just customer service. At the end of the day, you can do a lot worse.