When service sucks (and how to start fixing it)

When service sucks (and how to start fixing it)

South Africans are, sadly, accustomed to crappy customer service. Greetings, smiles, and eye contact seem to be few and far between. Corporate promises to ‘do better’ are the norm, as are empty assurances that, ‘We pride ourselves on our customer service and we’re sorry you had a bad experience (but we’re also not doing anything about it. Sorry/not sorry.)’

Yes, there is a definite service crisis in South Africa.

But we’ve also become complacent as customers.

Think about it. When you get truly great service – even good service – are you sometimes shocked, pleasantly surprised…even bashful?

We ask because, at 360 Degrees, these are the reactions we get from event attendees all the time. For us, great service comes naturally. We absolutely thrive on being in service.

Being in service vs being of service

Being in service means more than just providing a service. Anyone can do that. It means supporting customers, beyond what’s expected or necessary. It means smiling, showing up, checking in, doing something random – like dancing – because they asked you to.

Customers don’t need you; they choose you. You, out of hundreds of service providers. They. Choose. You. So: why give them a reason to regret not choosing the other guy?

Pick me, pick me!

How do you get chosen?

By adding value, by making a difference, by doing something that matters, and doing it with heart, intention, and chutzpah. Even if you feel silly or vulnerable doing it, do it anyway. Do it for the sense of satisfaction of a job well done, for the thrill of busting a move.

Great customer support shouldn’t be rare.

At 360 Degrees, we’ve come to realise that providing excellent customer service and support comes naturally when a business’s own internal support systems are strong. When you’re willing to go above and beyond for your team, when you’re willing to break a sweat and break into dance, when you thrill each other every day, it’s easy to delight customers.

We believe that if we want to fix the service crisis, we need to focus on creating service cultures within our organisations. We can’t hope to be in or of service to anyone if our own systems aren’t rock-solid. The reality is this: When your team believes in what you do and shares a passion for making an impact, it shows. And it’s magnetic and magical.

Start with a smile, mean what you say, and practise on your own teams. It works.