Customer Service Food For Thought

January 7, 2011

By Adams Hudson

What is customer service? It's how the receptionist answers the incoming call and schedules the appointment. It's the outgoing call that confirms the appointment before the tech's arrival. It's whether or not the appointment is kept on time. How the service or installation is delivered. The follow-up call that checks to see if all is well. How an issue is resolved if the customer has a concern...

Let's stop there for a moment because we just reached the one definition that many people think is the main definition. For lots of folks, the Customer Service department is thought of as just a nice, friendly way of saying "complaint department."

That's as much from our own purchasing experiences as anything else. After all, who do we call when we get that high-priced gizmo home only to find that no amount of pleading, muttering or cursing on our part can actually make it work? Customer service. And for most of us, what do we expect to find in customer service? A person unwilling to provide service.

Sad, but true. The biggest surprise after a visit to customer service comes out like this: "That person really helped me. He took care of my problem." In other words, when someone provides "customer service" in the customer service department, we're stunned.

Mistakes happen. We won't always get it right. In fact, an international technology company was reported to build products based on 95% out-of-the-box accuracy. That's because trying to get it right 100% of the time would have killed productivity and made the products too expensive for the average consumer to purchase.

The company knew their employees couldn't always "get it right," so they invested in a way to "make it right". They created a superior customer service department that addressed any deficiencies to the customer's satisfaction.

Remember, when "complaint resolution" is so surprisingly pleasing to the customer, it's almost as good as if it had been right in the first place. Who knows how customer service expectations got so low in other industries. Our job is to raise them high again for our own companies.

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. Readers can get a copy of the free 16-page report, “Get More Leads in Less Time” to help you market more effectively.  Fax a polite request on your letterhead to 334-262-1115, or email  Call 1-800-489-9099 or visit to subscribe to his free contractor marketing newsletter.

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