“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters . . .”
— Colossians [3:23] (NIV)
LOVING YOUR CUSTOMERS
I received an e-mail from my local gym recently stating that my five previously paid for training sessions would be canceled in two weeks. Stunned, I sent an e-mail back protesting this action. I am sure that buried somewhere in the multiple pages of fine print in my contract, the gym they had every right to take this action. But at no point during the purchase was I advised of this practice. Some distant attorney had foiled my plan to spread my sessions out over many months. Very shortly after my reply I received a call from Leo, a manager at the gym.
“He put his customer first by listening and seeking a solution.”
Leo warmly asked, “How can I help? I understand your point of view.” When I told him that I wanted the sessions spread out to help with my current triathlon training, he replied, “How long do you need?” I told him three more months. Leo gave me four just in case. In the course of this call he listened to learn my goals. He was accommodating and flexible. In the end, he satisfied a customer and defied some distant attorney’s rules. He put his customer first by listening and seeking a solution. The customer service role of many people like Leo is hindered by excessive rules and paperwork. Fortunately, Leo’s heart was determined to help, and his gym was thus well represented.
Many companies become so burdened by rules and bureaucracy that they lose sight of their customers, the very people who provide them with their lifeblood, revenue. Their hearts move away from the thing that most sustains a business, their customers. In my work, I review many strategic business plans and can very quickly pick up on whether an organization’s heart for its customers exists. All based on what they include about them in their plan. If serving their customers is not mentioned, I know that sales will be struggling, because the company has lost focus on the single most important aspect of their success, that customers are the lifeblood of a business.
“When we treat customers as if they were the Lord, we take on a completely different perspective.”
Paul the great apostle of Christianity and who was inspired by God, wrote today’s verse. In this verse he describes the Christian attitude and focus towards our work life. Paul suggests that we work with all our heart, as if we are working for the Lord. If Paul was a modern day business consultant, he would advise any business to treat their customers the same way they would treat the Lord. When we use this viewpoint, rules melt away and solutions appear. When we treat customers as if they were the Lord, we take on a completely different perspective. We become warmer and better advocates for our customers. The people we serve in our business lives become more important than rules created by bureaucracy. In our work lives we feel enriched because we have helped, we have served and we have improved our customers lives.
A simple change in perspective gives our work more meaning.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
Is customer service the most important part of our business plan?
What examples do we have of how we can treat customers as if they are the Jesus?
In our own personal lives, how do we live out the concept of working for the Lord?