Article input sought: Customer service is communication

Bad customer service

Do you have a story you could share with me?

I just got back from doing a presentation at a conference. The conference was just fantastic, and the presentation went well. The only dark spot on the whole trip, in fact, was an experience with the airline that got me thinking about the theme for an upcoming article: customer service is communication.

Readers here sense a frequent theme: you cannot not communicate. The way you treat your customers communicates how you view them.

I missed my usual Tuesday posting because of the conference, so I want to solicit some input. See, I don’t just want to gripe about an airline. I’d like to genuinely build some insight into this, because something about the whole experience struck me more deeply. Almost every individual I interacted with seemed to want to help, and yet company policy forbade them to do so. (By the way, I will name the company in the resulting article.)

This stands in stark contrast to the famous Nordstrom’s customer service. The key feature in this: Nordstrom salespeople are empowered to make decisions about what to do to serve the customer. I wonder how different my experience would have been had the airline company trusted their employees to take care of customers? Or to actually make good on a promise from an employee who was trying to do so (without costing a lot of hassle and future business in the process)?

So, what are some of your tales of customer service, good and bad? Drop a line to speakwrite at donnellking dot com with “Customer Service” in the subject line. I’d love to be able to use your story along with mine.

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Author: Donn King

Donn King works with individuals and organizations who want to forge top-notch communication skills to increase their influence and impact. He is associate professor of speech and journalism at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as a speaker and writer. His background includes ministry, newspaper, radio, small magazines and other publications, as well as co-authoring a textbook and blogging.