Customer Service is an Attitude, Not a Department

Growing up in a small town in a simpler day and time gave me experiences that are rare these days: customer service, appreciation, and a willingness to earn the customer’s respect and future business. Two of the biggest reasons for the lack of great customer service are success and leadership failure

When I was in college my Dad and I started a summer painting business. We achieved success, but it never altered our business model. We were painters, but serving the customer was our product. Dad’s leadership set the tone of our business. We never had a complaint or a disgruntled customer. 

I heard a famous personality tell of spending the night in the White House. Arriving early he waited for the senior President George Bush. The President apologized for his tardiness, picked up the guest’s luggage, and showed him to the Lincoln Bedroom. Success had not diluted the President’s customer service, and he topped it off with a servant’s heart. That is true leadership!

Customer service failures abound. In addition to blogs, I have written letters. Two went to a well-known hotel chain. My wife and I would stay when the rates were really good. Sadly, neither responded to my “thank you for the memories” letters I sent them after Sue died. They lost an opportunity for great customer service. A second letter went to a local western wear provider. For my birthday two years ago, Sue bought me my first pair cowboy boots. We planned to go back to that store to buy her a pair. I wrote the store after Sue died to tell them how much the memory of our time in their store meant to me. I never received a response.

Good customer service seems to be a dying art, but it should be thriving in the Christian community. Are people drawn to us? Are our churches warm, friendly, and welcoming? Are we neighborly? Are we making difference? Are people noticing? The time to make an impact on our family, our neighbors, and our community is short. I know a people group that would cherish even a few minutes of your time – seniors. They remember when good customer service was the rule, not the exception. Even the King of Kings became a servant (Philippians 4:7). We should do no less.

Local folks who have extended great customer service and grace to me in the past year:

  1. Dupont Tire and Auto on Wade Hampton Blvd. (Honest and Dependable)
  2. Robinson’s Funeral Home. (Caring and Compassionate)
  3. Charlotte SEO (Internet Marketing). (Helped with our App)
  4. Michael and Shay Brown, Greenville’s Property Couple. (Patient with my Indecisiveness)
  5. Kate and Joel, the staff at Annandale Estates. (Kind and Understanding to the Max)

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries
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