Sarah was very excited about her new reading partner. Miss Jenny had never volunteered at this elementary school before, so she wasn’t certain what to expect when she showed up for her first day with her new reading buddy. When she met Sarah, Miss Jenny smiled, and Sarah’s eyes lit up.
They went to the school library together and read and talked, then read and talked some more. Then week after week throughout the school year, they met again – and read and talked again.
At the end of the school year on their last day together, Sarah gave Miss Jenny a hug and said “thank you for reading to me.” Miss Jenny thanked Sarah and talked about how much she enjoyed the time they had together.
As Miss Jenny walked away, Sarah’s teacher asked Sarah if she knew what her readying buddy does. “Yes,” replied Sarah, “she reads with me.” The teacher said, “Oh, I meant, do you know what she does for her job?”
“No,” Sarah replied.
“Well she’s a very successful business owner here in town,” said the teacher.
“Okay,” Sarah said, and then Sarah walked back to her desk – apparently impressed with Miss Jenny, but not impressed with her job. What was clear is that Sarah didn’t care about Miss Jenny’s job – she just appreciated her reading buddy. What’s also clear is that Miss Jenny never bragged about her job or her professional accomplishments – all of the time and discussions with Sarah were about…Sarah.
Why am I bringing up a community service story to discuss customer service? Because greatness in community service has a thread of humility in it. The community service is for those being served, not about those serving.
Similarly, great customer service isn’t about the service provider. In that moment of truth with the customer, it’s about the customer. It’s about addressing their need, their emotions, their issues, and their goals. It’s not about our ego or our experience or our superior knowledge of policies, procedures, rules, and regulations.
Although it would be great if the customer stroked our ego, that’s not their responsibility. That’s more our own responsibility and that of our employer.
When engaged with the customer, when serving others, we need to bring humility to the encounter.
In customer service, let us help others with a humble heart.