From the early 20th-century phrase “The customer is always right” to Burger King’s Have it Your Way slogan, the buyer has always been the focus of great attention in the business world, for no insignificant reason. After all, without the buyer, a great product or business plan means nothing at all. Creating and developing a professional relationship with customers sounds easy, but it can actually be quite complex when you are dealing with cross-cultural differences, busy schedules, multiple projects… and the list goes on and on.
Earlier this summer, CSOFT’s very own Jesse He was featured in CIDM’s (the Center for Information-Development Management) July newsletter with a fascinating article on the philosophy of customer service. Jesse has been with CSOFT from the very beginning, a central and fundamental team member who has been visionary in developing our highly attentive approach to customer service. His article in CIDM’s newsletter was so enlightening that it would be a shame to not share it with you all. Therefore, we welcome you all to Customer Service Week, where we will introduce CSOFT‘s five virtues of customer service through a Taoist lens.
The Tao of Customer Service
Tao (sometimes known as “Dao”) can be loosely translated as “the Way.” It represents the natural order of the universe as a whole, and also the path for synchronizing or aligning yourself with that order. The Tao itself is nameless and unidentifiable, but it can be understood to a degree by adopting certain virtues (in Chinese, these virtues are known as Te or De) that derive from Tao.
Like the Tao, “good customer service” can’t be defined in a strictly coherent manner. Because good customer service isn’t a process; it’s more of an attitude or disposition that can only be achieved in reflection of certain virtues you adopt in your day-to-day work.
It’s these knowable virtues that we will focus on during Customer Service Week. By understanding the five virtues of good customer service, you can incorporate them into your own service model and, like a cobbled path that runs alongside a river, they will lead you toward the river’s end—the Tao of Customer Service, a combination of the right attitude with the right amount of effort that will stimulate success.
The First Virtue: Maintain an unwavering focus
In the realm of customer service, maintaining focus is of the utmost importance. While the word “focus” implies a single point of attention, as incongruous as it might sound, there are several types of focus you have to maintain. First and foremost, your main focus must be on your customer.
|There seems to be something out of focus in this business exchange…|
It seems elementary, but in practice, service providers often lose sight of the simple fact that the customer and his or her needs are what matter most. This means that you aren’t serving someone merely to maintain your relationship, or “going the extra mile” just to impress them and keep their business. You aren’t even serving your customers to make them happy. These are secondary, distracting pursuits that often lead to misunderstandings and the misapplication of your energy.
By focusing on what your customer needs—and afterward focusing on how you will react to those needs—you will foster a habit of listening first, and reacting second. Actively listening to what your customers want enables you to better interpret their needs in a more objective fashion. Only after you have identified a given problem or requirement should you focus on your own role in the equation. In this way you can attain the freedom and presence of mind to construct an individual and targeted resolution. Focusing on anything else isn’t service, but procedure and ambition.
Your customer’s happiness, positive experience, and willingness to continue doing business with you will naturally follow your unwavering focus on listening to, interpreting, and meeting their requirements. And they will exist in a form more enduring than had they been your goals in the first place.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s virtue, perception, and please feel free to share your thoughts about customer service in our comments section below!
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