I’m sitting here tonight, relaxing after a long day at work, enjoying the cool desert evening, and my mind won’t settle down. It’s not so much that I have anything stressful or pressing to worry about. It’s just that my mind is always going, and it’s always thinking and wondering about life, people, thought processes, etc. Kind of a “how does this work”, but instead of physical objects, my mind likes to think about how people and life work.
Something I often find myself thinking about, particularly as I’m driving to work every day, is how much of my life has been devoted to service. As a minister, that’s kind of an obvious thing (or should be), but my thoughts keep expanding outwards. My entire career has really been about service, over 20 years of service. And to me, there is very little difference between customer service and being of service as a minister. It’s all about helping people, helping others.
I’ve discovered something in that time frame, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s retail, call center or ministering. Most people do not understand what service is. Most people do not know what real help is. During an interview once, I was asked the question, “Do I believe the customer is always right?” To most people, the answer to that question is an automatic and resounding “yes”. And maybe there was even a time when that was appropriate. My answer to that question was not “yes”. It was a definitive “no”. Not-because customers aren’t right, or companies are automatically wrong. I said “no” because most of the issues I see in customer service are due to a lack of understanding.
Service, be it ministering or in the business world, is about helping others. But it does not mean doing for others. Providing good customer service does not mean that I am going to do it for you, nor does it mean that the customer is always right. Sometimes, the best service, and the best help I can give you, is to explain the misunderstanding and let you work the rest out for yourself.