December 27, 2014
Remember when customer service mattered? Actually, let me rephrase that. Remember when customer service was actually a priority. Businesses used to hire receptionists or people whose sole job was dedicated to customer service.
Now, in most cases these positions don’t exist. Well, the people still do, it’s the jobs that don’t. We’ve become a society so “in love” with multi-tasking that now our dedicated receptionist is also an administrative assistant/bookkeeper/secretary/office manager/staff coordinator. What used to be the receptionist is now tasked with so many more duties and titles. They are good at what they do; they just have too much to do to devote the time to serving customers as in the past.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say that they just wished that when they called someplace, they’d get an actual person and not a machine answering the telephone. Well, the diocese offices have recently returned to a policy of having an actual person answer the phone. This was an important step toward ensuring that people we encounter receive good customer service. This doesn’t mean that you will never encounter voicemail. It just means that during regular business hours, whenever possible, an actual living, breathing, human being will be taking your call instead of an automated system.
It makes sense that our offices should be dedicated to providing good customer service. Just like any other business, we connect our customers with whatever they need. It’s just that our business has special meaning with its connection to the church. It’s our duty, not only as good employees, but also, as good Catholics, to strive to help others. We are fortunate to have people on staff here at the Diocese who care a great deal about serving others.
Catholics are dedicated to serving others and essentially providing the best customer service to our neighbor. Isn’t that what St. Luke taught us with, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” This is popularly referred to as “The Golden Rule.”
Many people in our lives serve as our customer service provider. Maybe it’s your friends, your pastor or your parents. Perhaps you turn elsewhere. Maybe your customer service call goes directly to God through prayer.
I think prayer is the ultimate call to customer service. Where do you go with complaints? Do you go to God or customer service? Where do you go with your questions, problems, concerns, needs, wants, requests, suggestions or comments? You go to either the Lord or customer service, sometimes both.
At different times in our lives, we go to different places for good customer service. Many years ago, when I purchased my very first cell phone I was having some trouble setting it up with all the contacts and phone numbers I wanted stored in “speed dial.” It was one of the original flip phones and certainly wasn’t on par with the smart phones of today. So, it was fairly simple in comparison. However, at that time I wasn’t as tech savvy as I am now and it proved difficult trying to input my frequently called numbers, which was most often my mom.
When all was said and done, I managed to find the spot on the phone where I was to input my mom’s number. I saved it to where I thought it should be and was pretty proud of my accomplishment. However, for some strange reason, every time I called my mom or she called me, the contact name “customer service” would show up on the screen of my phone. Basically, I messed up somewhere along the line and mom ended up as customer service in my contact list.
At one point, I thought about trying to fix it. But then, I thought again. It’s actually quite fitting that mom would be labeled as “customer service.” She matches the title pretty well.
Whether it was because of our burning desire to multi-task, or perhaps due to budget cutbacks and merging of job positions, most businesses don’t employ a receptionist who’s only job it to care for the customers. Some might even argue that it’s everyone’s job to provide customer service. This is true, but it sure made a difference when there were people on staff dedicated to this as their first priority, and not as just a component of the job.
I guess we’re always safe in our decision to go back to the original, and still the best, customer service provider—God, or mom, whichever comes to mind at your time of need.