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What’s in a Name? A Living Case Study on Customer Services – Part 1

Customer service is the the torch that you want to keep burning so it can be passed on to any person joining your team. Whether it is an internal client or the customer buying your product, the customer service is a part of what he/she is buying into. What is often overlooked is that, at its essence, customer service is how we choose to treat another human being.

I was at a Korean motorcar dealership recently (I think the name rhymes with a certain day of the week), in Woodmead, Johannesburg. While booking the vehicle in for check up, I crossed paths with a “male receptionist”, who while entering my details into the system made a reference to my surname while spelling it,  “S”, “U”,”K”,  and then completing it with a “Whada whada whada”. He is obviously irate at the fact he has to do work for a vehicle that will cost the dealership money, as the dealership had promised certain things that didn’t eventually come with my purchase. That he had to resort to a condescending colloquism to refer to me, was both surprising and energy sapping. He had already crushed the notion of trust, which made me ask myself’,”is it safe for me to leave my car here”, like if its safe to eat the meal that you had sent back to the kitchen after lambasting the waiter for it being too salty. I continued to spell my name without a flinch to his emotional response. To be a custodian of customer satisfaction, you really have to possess empathy, to walk a mile, so to speak. This receptionist didn’t see me as a customer or even a possible long term one, and because of this I didn’t really exist as a human but rather a blot on his windscreen, and his attitude represents the wiper blades trying to get rid of me. The misconception is that empathy displays weakness and vulnerability, but when you think about it, it displays an enormous amount of emotional intelligence. This is so because you have shed all self interest in the situation and when you do that you capture someone’s feeling, creating a “friend” bond and by default an enduring customer/seller relationship.

That is the take-away, from today, “Empathy”. Be one with your customer and you will have a customer for years to come. Maya Angelou said something very profound and relevant, and it is something that any front facing representative of an organization can take from, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”,


The story of my receptionist friend and I is not yet complete. Join me next week when all will be revealed in What’s in a Name? A Living Case Study on Customer Services – Part 2


See you soon.



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