Does customer service come naturally to you?

There are a lot of small web startups and companies out there where customer service seems to come naturally to them. They provide fairly good to amazing service quite consistently and have never really thought about customer service in much detail. They never read a book on it, they don’t read a blog like Service Untitled, etc. It just comes to them without too much effort.

I’m not sure how this is or why it is, but a few things I’ve seen and noticed are:

The key people care about their customers.
There is a difference between knowing/caring about customer service and caring about your customers. The key people (usually the founders and early employees)  in the companies where customer service comes naturally may not really know about customer service as a business function, but definitely know and care a lot about their customers.

These companies are more often than not transparent and open.
Companies that seem to get customer service are more often than not open and transparent. They communicate openly with their customers, partners, employees, etc. and let them know what’s going on.

They respond quickly and mean it.
When these guys and girls reply to their emails or answer the phones and say they are sorry about your inconvenience or something of that nature, they almost always mean it. They care and want to make you happy.

They have passion.
If there is one thing about the entrepreneurs I’ve worked with, is that they are passionate about what they are doing. If they don’t have the passion (and it’s usually fairly easy to tell if they do or don’t), they aren’t going to make it. The said entrepreneurs need a passion  for their product or service, for what they are trying to do, and most importantly, for the customer. Customers (or whatever you want to call them – users, patients, clients, etc.) make the world go around companies profitable, so you better be passionate about them.

It doesn’t stay that way.
Call me a cynic, but I’ve never seen it stay the “customer service comes naturally way” for long. Small companies that seem to have a natural talent for customer service need to start working on it more as they get larger. Once you start hiring people you don’t know to support your customers, a lot changes. At that point, you need to start working on formalizing hiring and training procedures and dare I say it, write policies.

By the way, many of the same things apply to people who are great at providing customer service naturally:

  • They care about the people they are helping and want to help them.
  • They are open and honest.
  • They are genuinely empathetic and caring.
  • They are passionate about what they do (helping customers).

What do you think about this? Does customer service come naturally to you and your organization? I am positive the last two words of “It doesn’t stay that way” is making startup entrepreneurs cringe, but they are a necessary evil.

4 Responses to “Does customer service come naturally to you?”

  1. Jengates Blog » Blog Archive » links for 2007-07-09 said:

    Jul 09, 07 at 6:30 pm

    […] Service Untitled » Does customer service come naturally to you? – customer service and customer service experience blog (tags: service) […]

  2. phil gerbyshak said:

    Jul 11, 07 at 10:35 pm

    Much of what you say Doug is very innate. Either you’ve got it, or you don’t. That culture of service comes from the top and runs all the way through the organization, straight to the front lines.

    That being said, even the best need comtinued refocusing, and more importantly, more sharpening of the saw. They need reinforcement of their skills and they need to know that their contributions can still be improved.

    Even associate of the year is just for the year, not for life, at least until you die or retire.

  3. Service Untitled said:

    Jul 11, 07 at 10:53 pm

    Hi Phil –

    I agree. Everyone always has room to improve and learn more. If you take any natural abilities for granted, you are sure to be in for disappointment later on.

  4. Talking Story with Say Leadership Coaching said:

    Jul 16, 07 at 10:10 am

    Welcome to the Customer Service Carnivale!…

    Welcome to the July 16, 2007 edition of customer service carnivale! I’d like to thank Rosa for allowing me to host this edition here. Such the hospitable woman she is – as always! We’ve got some goodies today, so grab…